I spent my first day birding of the year at Southport beach with the intention of photographing the Gaucous Gull that has been reported from there for a while now. Reading on the internet and chatting to a few local birders suggested that the bird was ill but after catching up with it after a 2 hour search my thoughts are rather different. I’d been told it was very approachable and as I was able to get within 15m of the bird without causing it any due distress I’d agree which would maybe suggest there was a problem with the bird. As the photographs show the bill is rather red suggesting it has recently fed and there seemed to be no problem with it as it took to the air joining a throng of other gulls as an ignorant dog walker flushed it TWICE!! I wouldn’t mind but it was quite obvious that about 10 birders with a variety of scopes, binoculars and cameras were looking at a large Gull that was on its own sat on the grass as she trundled through flushing the Gull and not satisfied with that she let her dog off within meters of were the Gull had landed thus flushing it again! I don’t tar all dog walkers with the same brush, most stayed away or even took an interest, and one couple even photographed it with their phone. Rant over.
Whilst searching for the Glaucous I came across a single Sanderling which seemed to have signs of oil on its underside. It didn’t seem to hinder the bird as it preened, fed and flew without any signs of a problem.