Gull nightmare incoming

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Watched the GBBs marauding the Wigeon and Teal at Marshside for awhile at Sandgrounders this lunchtime…great lumbering brutes that sweep lazily in, spooking the fit in the hope of locating the sick ducks below.
Usually these monsters just drop onto a victim, whacking ’em with their big mean bill, but one bird today appeared to be striking out at prey in the air with it’s big galooty feet, in the same way a stooping Peregrine “punches” prey, where the bone-shattering impact is sufficient to secure din dins.
Didn’t work for the gull – perhaps it’s spindly legs don’t absorb and transfer power the same way the stocky legs and talons of a Peregrine do.
Whatever, at least the gull was learning (and that’s what life is about after all), if going hungry, and I”m sure this was okay with the Wigeon.
Otherwise it was ducks, ducks, ducks from Sandgrounders today.

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Pleasant in the ridiculously mild conditions – I was half expecting Sand Martins to start pushing north (!), especially after watching a Red Admiral fluttering around the roof of the RSPB office at the Churchtown end of Marshside Road.
Daft.
Warm enough to try seawatching from Ainsdale over the last two days with none of the usual winter discomfort, and, it has to be said, with none of the winter good stuff either, apart from the Common Scoter scarf, RB Mergs and Great Crested Grebes.

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2 thoughts on “Gull nightmare incoming

  1. This is the time of the year when Tawny Owls can be frequently heard, and even seen, in gardens. This winter, however, fewer people have been reporting them to the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch. Could this be a result of a poor breeding season? Keep your eyes and ears out for these mysterious nocturnal visitors and help us keep track of their populations.
    Tawny Owls are vocal towards the end of the year, as young disperse to find their own territories and pairs communicate with their classic ‘tu-whit, tu-whoo’ duet. So far this winter, however, this activity has been scarce with Tawny Owls only being reported by 3.6% of BTO Garden BirdWatchers, the second lowest figure for this time of year in a decade.
    These results come just weeks after Tawny Owl was added to the Amber list of UK Birds of Conservation Concern due to fears of a long-term decline. While it’s hard to monitor nocturnal birds, there are indications that the number of breeding Tawny Owls in the UK has fallen by around a third in the last 25 years. Worryingly, the reasons for this trend are not fully understood.
    Clare Simm from the BTO Garden BirdWatch team commented, “Data from the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme show that Tawny Owls had a poor breeding season, perhaps reflecting the lack of suitable prey available. This, combined with the findings from Garden BirdWatch, is disturbing news. If you have space in your garden, you can help Tawny Owls by leaving some grassy areas unmown as this will encourage small rodents to visit. If you have large trees it is also worth considering providing a Tawny Owl nest box.”
    Are Tawny Owls having a poor winter in your area? You can help us keep track of the ups and downs of this Amber-listed species, by taking part in the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch.
    To find out more about taking part in BTO Garden BirdWatch, including a free enquiry pack and magazine, please get in touch by emailing gbw@bto.org, telephoning 01842 750050, write to GBW, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU or visit http://www.bto.org/gbw.

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