Sunday, 16 January 2011

Slaty Backed Gull - MEGA class

Fortunatley as part of my gearing up in November last year i stumbled accross a Birder who had a pager, he explained what it was about and after looking into it i decided that it was right for me.

And it paid off massively on Friday morning advising on a "probable" Slaty Backed Gull on the Refuse Tip just up the Thames from the RSPB center at Rainham Marshes.


Free Licensed Photo - Not The Actual Bird Seen


After spending all morning dithering about trying to decide to switch work from Desk Top to I Phone i got to the RSPB site at about mid day and after the 2km walk to the refuse site was greeted by about 8 or so other birders. Within the hour up to about 30 of us.

The guy who made the initial find on Thursday afternoon Dominic Mitchel had today been granted access to the tip and was perched on a mound (dread to think what he was atually sitting on) wearing a white hard hat, he was inside but to our left.

Suddenly a shout, the bird was spotted, in flight!

Now as a new birder i was feeling totally out of my depth with all these experienced Twitchers (some of which have seen over 500 UK & NI wild birds, and there i am on number 74)

Shouts from a few people now...Going Right! Turned, Coming At Us!, Turned, Left, Left! Got It, Got It!

Not me, not experienced enough to pluck a MEGA Gull in flight from about 500 plus birds.

Gone

About 5 had seen it and were discussing primary feathers, hood markings etc


After about an hour it was spotted, still, (as viewed by optics) just above the plank of wood (even though this turned out to be the top of a yellow vent pipe from tip).

By now more had arrived including true twicthers such as "LGRE" Lee Evans chairman of the UK 400 club.

All 30 odd were on it now, myself included. Wow - Birding since mid October some 11ish weeks before and there i am looking at a bird that had never been recorded in the UK and only once in Europe. This bird should be in somewhere like Japan.

After viewing the bird for a while and listening to all the discussions (keeping quiet so not to make a fool of myself) i left the area probably about 3.30 - 4pm.

I bumped into Howard from the RSPB site peddling madly up the Thames Walkway to get a view.

So after viewing i now had to wait for these guys to confirm if they believed it was truly a Slaty Backed Gull - turns out even now (18.11.2014) its still undecided.

The pagers now changed to MEGA - it would be manic the next day; so to feel what a mass Twitch would be like i managed to get over there again on Saturday, i didnt go to the tip but walked round the RSPB reserve. Looking through my binoculars i could see bank after bank of birder a mass of green, brown & black.

The RSPB site stated 1200, looked more to me but 1200 to view one bird that i am not even sure if it showed that day, luckily i saw it Friday :) Not bad as an Essex Bird Watching Birder





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