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Sunday, 7 November 2010

A putative THAYER'S GULL in Essex

Putative adult Thayers Gull at Pitsea Tip

Yesterday I visited Pitsea Landfill site with a gull ringing group where I was able to look through the gulls present. I have built up over the past few years a relationship with the site staff and have access to the landfill on Saturdays only and I MUST stress that there is 'strictly' no general access to the Landfill. Anyone trying their luck at the security gate will get turned awa.

I have access as I have undertaken health and safety inductions due to the hazardous nature of the tip, safety and high visitibility clothing and I have my own high clearance and appropriately kitted out vehicle.

Because the bird is at a 'No Go' site and that Sunday is a none tipping day with most gulls well away from the area I was going to take the opportunity to do a little more research on the bird from which I would decide whether to either release the bird as a 'good' candidate for a Thayers or not and leave it as unidentified or as whatever it may turn out to be, such as a hybrid. However the news of this putative bird has somehow made its way onto RBA without me putting it out there.

The bird was seen only twice for a total of aroud 5 minutes, on both occaisions photos were obtained which show features that would be described as Thayers Gull, though some are not sharp shots. These images have been passed onto a number of gullers with greater experience of the species than I have for comment, which I am still waiting feedback.

After speaking with Will at RBA this news has apparantly come from the Gulls Yahoo Group where I had asked for comments on the bird, thus Rare Gull and my name = Pitsea Tip.

I have detailed the locations where the bird may be looked for but be mindful of the large numbers of gulls present in the area, also the large numbers at Mucking, Rainham and Barling Tips of which there is some interactions, thus this bird could easily be at Rainham next week or at Barling. It is rare that any decent gull I have had on Pitsea is seen again there, I have had very few duplications on the Caspian Gulls I have seen there.

Pitsea Tip is 'strictly' no access however gulls visit the following locations to bathe and Roost:

Wat Tyler Country Park scrape - TQ737867. Large numbers can visit the scrape viewable from the main hide. Key access to the hide can be obtained from the Boat Museum.

Vange Wick - TQ77854. Very large numbers can be seen roosting here, viewable distantly from Wat Tyler Country Park or from the seawall at Vange Wick but bird cans be flighty in the exposed area.

Bowers Marsh - TQ755865. Large numbers gathering on the fields here, there is not many paths here and work is currently underway on the RSPB reserve here thus a lot of disturbance

West Canvey Marshes RSPB reserve TQ765845. Large numbers of large gulls visit the main flood and scrape here where viewing is possible from hides/blinds.

Hole Haven Creek: TQ747842. two mile walk from Lobster Smack pub to the north end of the creek to view towards Fobbing Horse. Site is tide dependant and numbers here unknown as not visited for a while but generally there are several hundred birds present when tide is low.

There is no Sunday tipping on the Landfil and there is usually only a fracton of the usually 7000+ large gull numbers present at the above locations. The above sites are best checked Mondays-Saturdays.

Steve Arlow

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