Friday, 18 April 2014

Gulls are in the air!

As is spring. With westerly winds, birding has been slow over the last few days, on both the seabird and migrant fronts. Aside from a few wheatear and a blackbird, the sunshine over the last few days has been a welcome relief, and also presented a great opportunity to photograph some of the resident birds on the island, and I chose to target the gulls. Somewhat unappreciated and often demonised, our resident gulls are clean, sharp and elegant looking birds. Our smallest resident is the Black-headed Gull, which doesn't make a particularly pleasant noise but is on the rise and is good news for the Terns and waders that they nest around, as they are great at seeing off predators. We have around 500 pairs on the island, including these two.

Black-headed Gulls reflecting on island life!!

The next step up are the Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls. And then top of the chain, the Greater Black-backed Gulls; ferocious predators which are picking through the islands population of Feral Pigeons at present.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Herring Gull

Greater Black-backed Gull with its meal

In other news around the islands, Sandwich Tern numbers continue to build, and courtship is taking place, which involves some splendid dancing, offers of small fish and lots of chasing around, as these two are perfectly demonstrating. We have also had our first new arrivals of the year, in the form of 9 very cute Mallard ducklings, and we were delighted today to discover the first Ringed Plover nest of the year, which is incredibly well camouflaged on the rocks and allows great views of this wonderful little bird.

Sandwich Terns courting

Mallard and her ducklings

Ringed Plover returns to the nest

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