Friday, 11 April 2014

The Dungeness Glaucous Gull

28th March 2014

Time once again for Stuart and I to make our spring visit to Dungeness, and with a decent south-easterly blow I was expecting to see flocks of Wheatears being pushed off the lighthouse road in front of us. No such luck, in fact I would venture to say that on the bird front it was the quietest we had ever witnessed in over 10 years. Therefore we decided to turn our attention to the 1st winter Glaucous Gull that had been present for some time.

It would appear from reports that the bird commutes from the fishing boats to The Patch, so we opted to start at the latter. As we hauled our way up the gravel bank a small work party was repairing the roof of the sea-watching hide and so we took the opportunity to enquire about the Glaucous Gull. As luck would have it they knew exactly where it was, not at the fishing boats or The Patch, but exactly half way in between, somewhere where we would not have looked.

At first the bird was a bit timid and looked uneasy even when I was still 50 or more yards away. It then flew past me and landed on the shingle bank below the hide, which was much better as I now had the light behind me. Oddly enough it now seemed far more settled and I was able to get some shots before, for no reason at all, it took off and circled around my head. Absolutely superb, but on occasions it was so close I couldn't get it all into the frame. Still, mustn't grumble.

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