Glaucous Gull and Other Rarities

January 08, 2013  •  1 Comment

In the last couple of weeks I've had some lovely times with a local barn owl but also connected with some rarer birds which has been interesting.  Firstly there were reports coming in of hawfinches in Bruton churchyard.  This seems to be a regular winter phenomenon and they feed in the mature yews for the most part.  Interestingly, a local I met in Bruton said they'd been coming for years and occasionally fed on feeders in his garden which is close to the church.  This is a well described phenomenon in Europe but doesn't seem to be common here.  I found these very tricky to photograph but for what it's worth here is a record shot of one hiding deep within a tree.

Hawfinch Bruton Churchyard 2012Hawfinch - Coccothraustes coccothraustes It is possible to get substantially better shots of hawfinches in England.  Look here for some pictures I took in 2009 in the Forest of Dean.

In Exminster, a village near Exeter, there has been a rose-coloured starling visiting over the last few weeks.  As these normally live in Asia and overwinter in India, this was a bit of a surprise and I thought it would be rude not to pay it a visit.  Unfortunately, it wasn't very keen on coming close so I got some pretty poor record shots as below.

Rose-coloured Starling, Exminster 1Rose-coloured starling - Pastor roseus Rose-coloured Starling, Exminster 2Rose-coloured starling - Pastor roseus The third rarity has already been well documented by others.  This is a glaucous gull which is ridiculously tame and is hanging out at a nearby park, Apex Lake in Burnham-on-Sea.  It allows views to 10 feet or closer and is tamer than many of the commoner gulls that frequent the park.  I managed to get a picture of it eating a worm but like many birds habituated to urban areas, it's very keen on bread!

Technical note: For some reason whenever I take pictures at Apex Lake the white balance gets messed up.  I've tried to correct this but I fear the colours may still look odd.  Some shots were taken in fairly thick fog which made things look even stranger.

Glaucous Gull, Apex Lake, Burnhamn-on-Sea 1Glaucous gull - Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull, Apex Lake, Burnhamn-on-Sea 2Glaucous gull - Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull, Apex Lake, Burnhamn-on-Sea 3Glaucous gull - Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull, Apex Lake, Burnhamn-on-Sea 4Glaucous gull - Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull, Apex Lake, Burnhamn-on-Sea 5Glaucous gull - Larus hyperboreus


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Ian Thorp(non-registered)
You have a good view of the nut cracker beak!
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