Thursday, 5 January 2012

Local birding: Ad Glaucous Gull, Fishmoor Res, Lancs - 5th Jan 2012.

The last two attempts at the Gull roost have been almost futile with truly horrific gale force winds and 'in the face' rain and I have not been able to 'do' the roost anything approaching as thorough as possible. But tonight, in clearing skies and decreasing wind (though still a scope shaking F4-5) I was able to watch from my preferred position on the slope of the west side of adjacent Guide Reservoir where I could keep an eye on both the roosting roof and the water. Downside being that in the North-westerly, the Gulls on the water were back on, but the Gulls on the roof were side-on. At 16:06, I noticed a magnificent adult Glaucous Gull on the water, such a rare plumage locally. With light fading rapidly, this necessitated a sprint to find a gap in the bank side willow scrub and a better angle from which to attempt a side-on record 'videograb'. I failed miserably, and in doing so wasted precious light searching for other potential goodies in the roost. I later relocated the Glaucous on the roof where it showed side-on, but by this time it was 16:32 and the light had almost completely gone. For some reason, there appeared to be many fewer Gulls roosting than noted during the token gesture visits of the past two nights.

To try and put this age of Glaucous into a local perspective as best as my seemingly failing memory can recollect, in c22 years of local Gull watching, I doubt if I've seen 5 locally, though with the passing of time I would need to trawl through past reports to be sure. I am fairly sure though that the last recorded adult may well have been as long ago as 1 on 1st Jan 2002, a memorable date when adult Iceland and Ring-billed Gulls also roosted.

Aside from the Gulls, I spent a couple of hours mid-morning - early afternoon trying to discover where the Canada Goose flock currently containing 2ad Greenland and 6 Eurasian White-fronted Geese are feeding when not at Rishton Reservoir, where they were not present when I checked just after 10:00. I checked Parsonage Reservoir, where 24 Canada Geese were present on the Dam, the Calder floodplain at Altham (1 Pink-footed Goose and 2 Oystercatcher) and various viewpoints where I could scan the area of green belt between Rishton/Oswaldtwistle/Knuzden, all to no avail, though I could not view the actual 'plateau' of fields in this area, which could potentially be the spot... When I rechecked Rishton Res at 12:30, the whole damned flock of Canada's, including the White-fronts, was present! - The mystery continues!