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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blyth estuary - Leucistic Herring Gull

Another visit to Blyth Estuary this time I got the tide right and it was heaving with birds , Teal I roughly counted out at 300 , with Mallard ,Gadwall, Shellduck , c10 Goldeneye a single Long Tailed Duck , Dunlin , Bar Tailed Godwit, Redshank these all in good numbers and this was just east of the bridge , in between the bridges where about 15 Moorhens and about 30 Mallard , the Mallard look so much more impressive feeding in the river amongst the flow of small torrents , a bird caught my eye as it flitted through the trees behind the new workshops it looked like a Chiff but it was gone before I could confirm . walking further downstream both sides of the river where alive with waders the Dunlin and Golden Plover  feeding on the far bank in an area I see them often it must collect  food between tides consequently they are a bit far away should anything turn up amongst them ,in the field a large flock of Fieldfare dropped down to feed , c8 Grey plover which mostly stayed on the far side  of the spit but one fed beside the outfall. Bar Tailed Godwits where well spaced out making counting harder but there had to be c30 . I picked out  the Leucistic Herring Gull again on the far side its been around for awhile  it is mostly white but does have faint brown on the wings tips and a smudgy mark on the tail although I did not see it in flight , the bill appears all dark so it should be a first year bird . I thought it would be an Albinistic bird being mostly white  but apparently  the presence of Melanin which in this case is being blocked from most of the feathers but not the eye ,bill or tail. But in Albinism the Melanin is blocked from bare parts as well hence a  true Albino  has pink eyes because the only colour present is the blood vessels behind the eye showing through . I have over simplified it so it's worth reading up on 
 Goldeneye another one that is hard to digiscope
 Herring Gulls pair bonding

 I tried taking so much video of the LTD that I ran out of batteries and  trying to get this bird side on took ages , I put one of the dead batteries in my pocket and the warmth revived it enough to get a few more shots

Short video of the Long Tailed Duck ,if you have ever tried to even view them while they feed you can forgive the jerky video trying to keep it in view was a nightmare.You can just hear it calling faintly towards the end which is why I left the sound on

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