Whilst the nation sweats over the Slaty-backed Gull that was at Rainham Marshes, on The Scrubs I'm sifting through gull flocks of my own. Okay, it's nothing like the thousands that descend upon Rainham, but yesterday I had the pleasure of watching 400 plus Black-headed Gulls take off in unison all flapping lazily low over the football pitches only to settle again a few hundred yards away. The reason for their flight? A wayward dog.
But it pays to sift through flocks though for in amongst my Black-heads were at least 40 Common Gulls of various ages, at least 10 Herring Gulls (I couldn't string any Caspians or Yellow-legs) and a handful of Lesser Black-backs. But hidden in with my common regular gulls was a visitor that although not as precious as a Slaty-back it was still a heart warmer for me. I had found a fine winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull. To be honest, this bird has probably been kicking around since last November but the moral of the story is that wherever you are always check your gull flocks. Even if you're miles away from a landfill site or water, like I am.
The Slaty-back hasn't been seen at Rainham for the past couple of days. Think out outside of the box and search your local gull flocks loafing on that football pitch that you drive past every day on the way to work. You just never know.