Yep, today is my birthday, as seems to happen pretty much every year. I thought I'd gotten away with it this time but no, I was found out. Anyway, birthday lunch in an hour so just a quick blog for y'all today.
Whizzed off down to the beach in search of yesterday's White-billed Diver. No luck, a single Great Northern Diver being the sole bird of interest in the bay. (As an aside, I later wandered out of the square and down to the pier in case the WBD was hiding on the seaward side - no luck there either). A quick scan through the handful of gulls present revealed a distinct lack of white-wingers, though I did wonder if I'd hit the jackpot when I first saw this beast
|The kind of face only a partially-sighted mother could love...|
Whoa...Great Black-backs have pale pink legs, this thing had pale yellow legs!!! Must be a Kelp Gull was my immediate (and, frankly, rather ridiculous) thought process. The bill looked pretty damned hefty, it looked butt ugly with that beady eye, prominent white trailing edge....except it was HUGE! Way too huge, in fact. It quickly swam into the sea before flying off. I managed a further handful of images
|Absolutely flippin' massive!|
I've seen Kelp Gulls in New Zealand, and this didn't strike me as anything other than a GBBG with odd coloured legs. Back home afterwards I consulted the books, finding many useful hints and tips in the brilliant Helm Guide to Gulls. Seems that there are a small number of Great Black Backs that exhibit pale yellowish legs. Judging by the monstrous size of this beast, it must surely be a male bird. Nice, I've learned something new about a species I see on a daily basis.
Anyway, no joy to sea so I headed up the hill and cut across the sheep pastures. It was just a tad blowy and quite bitter in the wind. Horizontal snow stung my face whilst a distant Golden Eagle refused to come closer than half a mile from my square's airspace.
|Namby pamby woolly maggots, sheltering from the wind|
Anyway, I made it through another year and I've dindins with the bosses in an hour's time from now. Woodpigeon was the only yeartick for me today, so that's me on 298 for the square this year. Cool.
I was gonna add a metal version of Happy Birthday, but they're all far too awful to endure. Metal just isn't meant for such dross. So here's a fave of mine from me to you. Enjoy!