Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Mediterranean Esplanade

After breakfast and a cup of tea at Abberton it was time to get back to the main mission of the photograph Mediterranean Gulls at West Mersea. I am sure that Meds can be seen on Mersea all the year round although I often have trouble finding them, except for March and April when their numbers build up for breeding on the islands in Pyefleet Channel.

The best place I have found is the western end of the Victoria Esplanade because, although they can be seen all along this stretch, the western end is quieter and therefore better for photography. Unfortunately, when I arrived the tide was still a long way out and the three Meds that I could see were right out on the mud and on the sea. Therefore, there was nothing for it. I would have to find a comfortable seat and wait in the glorious sunshine for a couple of hours. OK, I know what you are saying, but it is a dirty job and someone has got to do it!

As I sat there I couldn't help but notice the "chirp" of the local House Sparrows in the hedge. These are now fairly scarce at home but there were a few present on the edge of the beach. As someone remarked several years ago "I love House Sparrows because they always sound so happy."

There was also something else enjoying the sunshine. Although it was only the 5th March, there were a couple of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies making the most of the sudden warmth and basking on the warm ground.

But now back to the business in hand. The tide was coming in fast and pushing the gulls towards the beach as it went. I was therefore able to manoeuvre round to get the sun behind me and gradually approach the group, taking shots as I went. And then for the secret weapon. A few lumps of bread lobbed into the air caused a couple of the gulls to take to the air and circle the bread, allowing a few flight shots. Surprisingly, whereas last year the birds were all 1st or 2nd winter, these were all adults moulting into their summer plumage.

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