Sunday, 14 September 2014

Red-backed Shrike and Mediterranean Gulls - Sandy Point, Hayling Island - September 2014

Back on the 4th September Andy Johnson found a Red-backed Shrike at Sandy Point on Hayling Island. I had been hoping to get down to see it at some point but had been too busy, today (14th September) it was still around and so after this mornings ringing session at Titchfield Haven I headed down to see it. The bird had been frequenting the south-eastern corner of the reserve, and therefore was best viewed from the beach, so that's where I headed. I arrived around midday and the bird was performing well. Occasionally it would drop out of view in a patch of gorse, but most of the time it was sat proud on top of vegetation. At one point it appeared to try and catch one of two Stonechats, but they managed to avoid it.

Juvenile Red-backed Shrike - Sandy Point, Hayling Island

As well as the Red-backed Shrike and the Stonechats, two Northern Wheatears were present and a couple of Dartford Warblers put on a good show.

Dartford Warbler - Sandy Point, Hayling Island

After a while the shrike disappeared, so I began to scan out to sea. In the race just offshore there were a large number of gulls feeding, of which the majority were Mediterranean Gulls. They were fairly close to the shore and so I headed down to the tide line to get a better look.

Adult Black-headed (left), 2nd Winter Mediterranean (middle) and two adult Mediterranean (right) Gulls

There were over 70 Mediterranean Gulls present of different ages, the most numerous being first year birds, a couple of second winters and a good number of adults. Some images of the different ages are below.

First Winter Mediterranean Gull 
Second Winter Mediterranean Gull
Adult Winter Mediterranean Gull

As I sat and watched the Med Gulls several other species dropped in. A juvenile Kittiwake put in a brief appearance, as did a couple of Common Terns followed by a four of five Sandwich Terns, a mixture of moulting adults and juveniles.

Adult Sandwich Tern - Sandy Point, Hayling Island
Juvenile Sandwich Tern - Sandy Point, Hayling Island

Juvenile Sandwich Tern - Sandy Point, Hayling Island

My attention was diverted at one point by two Lancaster Bombers flying east.They were quite far out to sea, but headed in land later for a display in West Sussex, which I was able to watch from a distance.

Lancaster Bombers - Hayling Island

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