Sunday 17 September 2023

Caspian Gull, Wryneck

A quick look off Mudbank after dinner was rewarded with this beautiful first-winter Caspian Gull. It dropped in at around 630pm for a 'wash and brush-up' and was unceremoniously flushed by a big group of kids on bikes, about five minutes later.

A quick whiz around Orcombe first thing, before torrential rain stopped play. Five Balearic Shearwaters flew east (presumably the tail end of the flock that roosted off the Warren) as it was just getting light, and the Wryneck was seen briefly in scrub, having been flushed from the path just up from the Iron shelter. Otherwise, just 7 Yellow Wagtails and 1 Wheatear of note, along with a flock of 30+ Meadow Pipits heading high, out to sea.
A couple looks off Mudbank, during drier spells, produced 1 first-winter Caspian Gull, 69 Brent Geese (presumably mostly Pale-bellied birds but too distant to be sure), 2 Kingfishers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Sandwich Tern, 16+ Teal and 2 Shoveler. The Wigeon weren't counted but I did pick out the returning Wigeon x Pintail hybrid. A flock of 100+ House Martins moved upriver as rain started to set in and 55 Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on Bull Hill.

This is only my sixth Caspian Gull in Exmouth but following two young birds last year it wasn't entirely unexpected. 

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