Finally, a winter day with numerous interesting Laridae. It has been a long season with occasional good moments. The same could be said for the every winter since 2000 when I first arrived at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire and took up residence in the hides over winter looking at the gulls of D res. Many hours have passed since then, with more quiet times than good times.
Saturday saw 9,000-9,500 gulls roost on D res… and there was nothing to see. Sunday saw a bit of movement throughout the afternoon. Five hours of gull watching saw 2+ adult Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus (or should we now put Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) present on and off during the afternoon, plus a 2nd winter which appeared around 1pm for about 15 minutes. Three birds in day is impressive for Tophill, but I’m pretty sure 3 adult birds were present during the afternoon given the movement of birds north. (note during the putting together of the Tophill Low reservoirs, the architects didn’t consider making it easy for gull photography!!!)
A 1st winter Little Gull Larus minutus (or should we now say Hydrocoloeus minutus) was present from 4.30pm. A scarce winter bird on the reservoir, this was the second of the period, but couldn’t be relocated on the waterbody as it got hidden among c9,500 Common Gull L. canus and 6,500+ Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus (or should we now say Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Plenty of larger Larids around. Saturday saw 17 Herring Gull L. argentatus argenteus and a single Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus roost – Sunday saw a steady passage of the former with around 200 through the site by 3pm. The roost held over 600 Herring Gulls and 22 Great Black-backed, which also dragged in a single adult Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis and and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus graellsii.
At least seven Pintail Anas acuta are still present on site as is the redhead Smew Mergus albellus. However, there is more to Tophill Low than my view on it… click here for Richard’s official round-up.
Cool nights are still proving a problem for the moth trapping with nothing in the traps that were set, although a single Agonopterix arenella was found at the visitor centre.