Friday, 3 November 2017

Caspian Gulls, Dogs and the myth of black-billed Scandinavian Blackbirds!

Looking online at images of the Caspian Gull that I continually fail to see at Cromer, I was struck just how similar one of the white-headed herring types that I saw on Wednesday is to an image posted on Twitter by Simon  of 'Poppyland' (Hope he doesn't mind me borrowing his photo!). As far as I can see, the only obvious difference is the patterning of the mantle feathers: everything else seems pretty similar!

Other people's images show a characteristic tail-feather moult (?) on the Caspian, so - assuming it hangs around until next week - that's what I'll look out for!

Is it just me, or is the dog situation in the Norfolk countryside getting a bit beyond a joke? Bags of faeces adorn half the bushes along the coastal paths and uncollected cr*p is still a feature of beaches, tracks and fields. I've been bitten three times now, and many of my friends have been knocked down or pounced on by large, uncontrolled dogs, whose owners generally seem very casual about the whole thing. I recently visited St Benet's Abbey near Ludham: the usual piles of mess and hanging bags were much in evidence. You'd think the large sign prominently displayed on the gate would be enough to persuade dog owners to keep their pets on leads, but no!

I frequently hear birders (including some experienced ones!) referring to black-billed Blackbirds as being continental or Scandinavian. They are, in fact, neither! There is no difference between 'our' Blackbirds and those the other side of the North Sea (see Svensson) Adult male Blackbirds have a yellow bill and eye-ring all year: first winter males, though, have no eye-ring and a dark bill.

Simon's 1W Caspian

No comments: