Friday, 13 February 2015

Laughing Gull New Brighton Cheshire Joker in the pack!

Laughing Gull at New Brighton
With yet another work trip "up north" I couldn't resist trying for the Laughing Gull that's made New Brighton home this winter. The American vagrant has decided it likes the pontoon in the Marine Lake. If you've read my blog before you'll know I have a (soft) two hour twitch rule but whenever I'm away with work I look for a detour on the main route should anything of note be around. I've picked up Masked Shrike and Yellow Rumped Warbler in this fashion before. New Brighton was some sixty miles of route for me and on arrival the Gull had just flown off from the lake. I walked the beach for about a mile either side of the lake finding a Purple Sandpiper on the rocks as I scanned for the gull and a couple of Snow Bunting along the tide line too.
There were Sanderling, Turnstone and Oystercatchers in good numbers but no sign of the target bird.

Joker in the pack
I returned to the Marine Lake and had lunch whilst watching for the birds return and joined another birder as he tempted the gulls in with his lunch. The gulls stirred and somebody said he'd spotted the Joker in the pack. Sure enough the bird landed on the pontoon and then gave great close views to the gathered birders and interested locals of which it had attracted a few. Mission accomplished I headed off to my work venue.

Laughing Gull
Having a Laugh!
Laughing Gull                                        My first lifer of 2015!

I had already picked up a Little Owl on the drive up so the year list had now moved to 141 and the life list reached 352 safe in the knowledge that the Baikal Teal at Ouse Wash last year has now been accepted.

During my second day in Yorkshire I picked up a Raven calling overhead in the Penines which had a good covering of snow and was shrouded in mist/ This morning I also found good numbers of Red Grouse before setting off south. The drive home today gave up a single Red Kite as I travelled towards Cambridge on the A1 for my sixth year tick of the trip.

Red Grouse in the mist 

Year list now 144
Life list now 352

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