Saturday 31st January saw our first ever ‘bird family’ focussed event, a day out getting to grips with the notoriously difficult gulls. The weather conditions made it challenging at times, but everyone persevered and we got to grips with the 6 most regular species in winter in Pembrokeshire, in various age plumages too. A windy Dale provided us with blustery views of Black-headed, Common, Lesser Black-backed, Herring & Great Black-backed. This is a particularly good site for Common Gull in winter, and we were able to see the birds in flight as well as feeding on the exposed mud. The highlight, however, was a rare sighting of an Otter in the lagoon for most of the group!
A stop at Sandy Haven gave the group a chance to further experience the 5 species seen at Dale, in more sheltered conditions, but the hoped for Mediterranean Gull did not materialise. On to Gelliswick Bay where close views of several ages of Herring Gull were obtained, as well as a fine Great Northern Diver close in offshore. Lunch was taken at Milford Docks where close views of Herring Gull were again obtained, including a colour ringed individual (blue with yellow MEZ), and we later discovered this bird had been ringed in Gloucestershire.
The final stop was the locally famous Llys-y-fran Reservoir gull roost, the largest in the County (on a good day!). And so it proved to be, with perhaps 6,000+ gulls of at least 6 species present, the group finally catching up with Mediterranean Gull, with no less than 8 birds present (5 adults and 3 first-winter birds which have a quite different plumage). A few hailstones didn’t dampen spirits although it was mightily cold!
If you’d like a tailored trip, whether it’s to see specific species or improve your identification skills, just get in touch.