Sunday, 24 February 2013

Extreme gulling

Above: Klaus, Yellow-leg, Caspian, mattress and Med - can you find them all?

The perfect end to the week; standing on a huge pile of rubbish in a stiff north-easterly with horizontal sleet.  I booked on to the Rainham Marsh gull ID special, lead by Klaus Malling Olsen, author of Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America.  After a thorough health and safety presentation by Veolia, who kindly allowed access to the tip, we were fully briefed on the dangers of wayward bulldozers and sniffing hydrogen sulphide.  Fully PPE-ed we made our way to our prepared viewpoint for a fine view over east London. It was cold.  However, a 2-hour watch provided warming views of 1st winter and 2nd winter Caspian Gulls, 2nd winter and adult Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls amongst the gully masses, mattresses and general trash.  A male Hen Harrier rounded off the watch nicely.

Back in the centre, Klaus took us through the finer points of gull identification, made Caspian’s easy (just think of up-lift bras), poo-poo-ed Azoreans and urged us to find Baltics.  Overall, an excellent afternoon organised and run by the Rainham staff and volunteers.  Thanks to you all.  Can you choose a warmer day next time.

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