Monday, 26 December 2011

Great....a Black-headed Gull

A sample of the 3,000 or so Brown-headed Gulls
TUB looking for the elusive Pallas' Gull
There's a Pallas' out there somewhere
This afternoon, I journeyed to Bang Poo, just outside Bangkok to try and locate a Pallas' Gull or two. This species used to be referred to as Great Black-headed Gull back in the day when I was a pup. Indeed, I've always wanted to see a GBH gull ever since I was a kid, although my dream has always been to find one in the UK. To put its rarity into prospective, the only accepted British record to date stems back to 1859 when a bird was found at Dawlish Warren, Devon I believe.

I came to Bang Poo on the recommendation of Thailand's biggest lister and Regional Rep of the Wetland Trust, Phil Round. Bang Poo, in the Samut Prakan province, is a favoured spot for Thai daytrippers who visit the pier to feed the multitude of gulls that accumulate there. On my arrival I was confronted by sight of nearly 3,000 Brown-headed Gulls variously loafing on the water close to the pier or squabbling over scraps thrown at them by the giggling sightseers. Meticulously sifting through them I found around six Black-headed Gulls which are locally scarce. The Brown-heads were slightly bigger with a more solid build, broader wings and more ponderous flight. I spent three hours examining every gull both near and far. No GBH. Plenty of winter plumaged Common and Whiskered Terns, Great Egrets, Pond Herons (either Javan or Chinese), Little Cormorants, Barn Swallows, a few passing Brahminy Kites and a solitary Osprey. But no GBH.

How many Black-headed Gulls make a Great Black-headed Gull?

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