Funnily enough, I was asked by a visitor on Monday whether we ever get curlew at Old Moor. Then one turns up today. Anyone got any questions about ring ouzel or hoopoe, just let me know…

Here’s the summary of sightings from today…

Except for that curlew and a pair of goosander there was little change in the sightings today. Even the bittern’s booms weren’t reported – or perhaps swallowed by the brisk winds that raced around the valley today.

Things seemed a bit static elsewhere too though it was good to see that the recent scaup was still being reported on Manvers Lake, just down the road from Old Moor.

It was also good to see that many watchers recorded sightings of the recently returned adult Mediterranean gull. Over the last few days, it has become the most asked for bird in the cavernous interior of the new Family Hide. So to conclude tonight’s ramblings, here is a quick guide to the Med gull.

The Med. gull favours ‘Island one’ of the Mere and indeed has bred on here in previous years. Which island is that? – The one with these drainpipe shelters (though I can’t guarantee you’ll always see this)…

Just to make finding the Med. gull tricky, this island is also a favourite with the black-headed gulls. Well, I say ‘black headed’ but in decent light the first thing you’ll notice about black-headed gulls is that they are misnamed. At Old Moor, only the Med. gull has a truly black head, the others are more of a chocolate brown.

Being a bit different (and overwhelmed by numbers), the Med. gull usually has a fight on his hands. Fiercely defensive of his small breeding site, he can usually be seen striking fear into the other residents. That red bill; red gape; accentuated eye; and slight size-advantage, quickly signal to the black-heads that here is a bird that means business.

In flight, you can see another distinguishing feature. With the light behind him, the Med. gull has very pale wings with no black on them. The effect, to my eye at least, is to give more of an elegant appearance.

So there you have it. A brief guide to finding the most ‘looked-for’ bird of the moment. Best of luck and to finish, here’s one last picture.

Until next time.

Anonymous