Wednesday, 18 December 2013

MEGA - Ivory Gull, East Yorkshire

Ivory Gull - Patrington Haven
When I first started birding there were a few species that I used to really want to see mainly for their looks or habits such as Roller, Common Crane and Woodchat Shrike. Over the years I have managed to see most of the birds in Britain that I really liked the look of. So since 2009 I made a note of my three most wanted birds and it has taken til today to finally get one of them and best of all it was my number one! I met Mick and John at 4.00am in Crawley and Mick drove us up swiftly and safely to East Yorkshire.

We arrived shortly after 9.00am and we quickly walked the coastal path to the small line of birders by the pumping station. When we arrived the bird was perhaps 100yds away roosting on a seaweed covered rock. After about 30mins of watching it preen and taking in all its features at range through the scope it lifted majestically into the air and flew right over our heads, nobody muttered a word as it glided over the sea wall. Battling against the strong easterly wind it finally managed to drop down onto some fish and fed for c20mins at much closer range. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget, it lived up to and exceeded all my expectations and I was so chuffed to be watching it at such close quarters.

My thanks go to the very thoughtful birders for putting out a number of rotting fish for this arctic scavenger to eat. Without them there I am sure the bird would have moved on before I had a chance to experience this beautiful gull. Also many thanks to Mick for driving as my car is in the wars and the good company of John too. It all made for a very enjoyable day.

So finally I need to add a third bird to my most wanted list! The other two which were on the list were Nutcracker and American Kestrel. The bird I have now added to my wish list following on from such an amazing experience with an Arctic gull is Ross's Gull. Hopefully one of these three won't be four years in the making!

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