A Little Bit Of Iceland Comes To Gower

Saturday, March 07, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Saturday dawned grey, wet and foggy which threw my plans for washing the car straight out of the window. But maybe all was not lost. A sighting on the Glamorgan website reported a first winter immature Iceland Gull currently residing at Bracelet Bay in the Mumbles. Armed with plenty of warm clothing I headed down, fog lights most definitely on. At the bay itself I headed over to the main car park in front of the restaurant and scanned the surroundings. Unfortunately it was high tide which meant that the rocks the gulls usually roost on were underwater. I was pleasantly surprised to see four Mediterranean Gulls in a small raft of Black Headed Gulls, but other than a couple of Herring Gulls the Iceland was no where to be seen. Three Turnstone flew in just as I was giving up due to the weather heading further downhill.

Just before I left I checked out the small cove behind the restaurant on a whim. There were a good number of Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls circling but the fog was proving troublesome. All of a sudden a large almost completely white gull arrived on the scene; it was the Iceland. Another new life tick. The most striking feature was the lack of visible markings or colour, markedly different from the usual gulls we see. Fortunately the bird soared right over to the car for a few minutes allowing excellent views of its topside. The beige wing inserts and large ivory tips clearly marked the bird out as different from the very similar Glaucous. To top off the identification the gull was mobbed by both Black Headed (smaller) and Herring Gulls (slightly large). All in all a rather successful outcome to an otherwise rubbish day.

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