The amazing juvenile Ivory Gull, Seahouses, 7 Dec 2013
I had started off at Cresswell with a late Sooty Shearwater and a few Divers offshore then moved to Cresswell Pond. There are now feeders along the path to the hide and the Tree Sparrows were making the most of them. The pond itself held a pair of Scaup, some Mergansers and a lot of Wigeon. A late Black-tailed Godwit fed with Redshanks. A pair of Peregrines made sure that nothing stayed in one place for long.
I decided to look off Church Point at Newbiggin. There was a mix of duck in the harbour including a female Long-tailed Duck and some Common Scoter feeding just off the waters edge. There were at least 17 Mediterranean Gulls at the final count.
Suddenly the "Mega-Alert" goes off and as I focused on the screen I nearly fell over. IVORY GULL at Seahouses. Hot-footed to the car and began a 30 mile dash up the coast, cursing at every slow driver in my way (sorry!). There was an enormous Gull roost on the Coquet between Amble and Warkworth but it never got a look. Soon I was skidding to a halt on the verge by Seahouses golf club. I could see a dozen or so birders glued to their scopes and cameras. Even as I walked to the viewing spot I could see a bird that looked bleached white (the black spots weren't visible at distance).
The Ivory Gull performed admirably, sometimes coming very close. I spent a good deal of time cursing my broken digiscope kit and getting some fair video while joining in with the oohs! and aahs! of the growing crowd. How could we beat this!
Walking back to the car the pager goes again "2 IVORY GULLS"! I looked back to see the crowd looking up and sure enough there they were, on their way to the beach. They had flown south a mile or so to Beadnell. Soon a crowd was gathered on the beach enjoying the surreal experience of 2 Ivory Gulls on the rocks. The crowd got even happier as news came down that Newcastle United had beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford.
I headed off in a hurry to get a lottery ticket but my luck didn't hold.
Juvenile Ivory Gull underside pattern, Seahouses, 7 Dec 2013
Scaup, 1w drake, Cresswell Pond, 7 Dec 2013