Working today (well, doing a “pier birdwatch” over the high tide for the Southport Festival), so I could only watch from afar in awe as Marshside had what was probably its best day ever in terms of multiple quality birds – Golden Oriole, Glossy Ibis and Broad Billed Sandpiper, with Garganey and all those wonderful singing warblers and waders, as well as all the groovy regulars.
Walking down Southport Pier at about 1415, I looked over the balustrade to check out about 20 large-ish gulls on the water below the north side and spotted this critter.
It was very bleached out, but the beady black eye and long primaries, combined with the snowy white head and subtle streaky boa had me giving it a second look.
Big dark-tipped bill and deep, deep gape, but NOT on the drooping, all dark “big nose” scale of Stumpy the Caspian Gull at Ainsdale.
Big black terminal band (too big and messy?), with a white tail and bum, and white underwings (not really visible on these pics).
Forehead was quite slopey, but that wasn’t always obvious either – it certainly wasn’t as marked as Stumpy down the coast, but it had a nice flat back on the water, and a touch of the “Venetian Blinds” to the primaries.
The dark primaries projected far beyond the tail on the water.
Long-winged in flight (it flew a few seconds after I got the camera on it).
Some elements of the bird looked good for 2cy Caspian Gull, others didn’t.
What do others think?