Saturday, 17 September 2011
Spent Thursday evening at Grafham Water with Chris Orders catching up with this lingering adult Sabine`s Gull. Chris has seen many of these birds, but I really need to get out more as this was a `lifer` for me. The bird was relatively tame and we enjoyed extremely close views, but the light was against us and the shots are pretty rubbish when you compare them with other shots that have been taken of this bird.
The Sabine`s Gull is a bird that breeds on the Arctic shores of north-east Siberia, Canada, Greenland and Spitsbergen. The birds from Canada and Greenland migrate through the Atlantic to winter off south-west Africa and these birds can be blown in our direction during autumn storms. We have had the tail-end of the American hurricane/tropical storm and consequently a few of these birds have been popping up all over the place. Indeed, a juvenile was present in Peterborough the other day for about 15 minutes and was only seen by one birder (gutted!). The largest numbers of these birds are recorded off south-west England and Ireland and apparently inland records are fairly rare.
This is a fairly small gull, between a Little Gull and a Black-headed Gull and in silhouette is most similar to a Kittiwake. Unfortunately, the distinctive wing pattern is only seen in flight, a shot that I seem to find very difficult in getting by `digiscoping`, but can be seen here.