Sunday, 27 April 2014


17 - the number of gull species I've seen in the UK so far this year - it would be 18 if the pre-Christmas Ivory had been found a couple of weeks later. No 17, and most dipped member of the Laridae, cam yesterday morning at WWT Llanelli.
After failing to find the Franklin's last Saturday around the Lougher area, it reapeared mid week at WWT Llanelli, fairly regularly on the scrape in front of the British Steel hide, just after 10am. With an athletics comp in Carmarthen on Sat afternoon, requiring me to be there around 11am, I had a small window of opportunity to try for it. Whilst the center doesn't open till late morning (9:30), it possible to view part of the scrape from the coastal path, so I arrived in bright sunshine at 6:40 - I know its late, but I slept in! to see very few gulls in vision.  As the morning wore on there was a constant trickle of Black-heads coming in to loaf on the scrape. Most, unfortunately dropping down out of sight. I did pick up a 2cy Little Gull and a couple of Med Gulls, a single Blackwit and a year tick in a Common Sand'. A Glossy Ibis, looking quite glossy in the bright sunshine, dropped in around 8 am.

By 9:20 I had made my way round to the entrance to join the throng (two) of others awaiting entry. Bang on 9:30 the opened the doors and we flooded in and straight over to the British Steel hide. Time was getting short, I needed to be away by just after 10:15, but Frankie was no where to be seen. As more birders/photographers arrived, so did more Black-heads. Around 10:10 I picked up one coming in that looked that little bit darker across the back and followed it till it landed, Quickly getting the scope onto it. The darker mantle - tick, the black, not dark brown, partial hood - tick, prominent broken white eye ring - tick - shorter black bill - tick - it was Frankie Yes - a GB tick. I got everyone else onto him (OK it could be a her) before I had to leave. The question is, can I get to 20 gull spp in in the UK in a single year?

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