15 March 2021 White and yellow

Norwich birding is just about flickering on. There have been plenty of White-fronted Geese around the UK this winter, including 16 just outside the A47 'ring road' south of Norwich, which is a little too far for me to venture at present. Accordingly, I was delighted when a lone individual appeared closer to home, at Marston Marshes. It did, however, look rather bemused at both its surroundings and the company it was keeping...

James Lowen 

Surprisingly, the same site - a scrappy urban park alongside the river - has this week been graced by a secondYellow-legged Gull. Even more remarkably, the bird is also a second-winter - not a particularly common age to see anywhere that I'm aware of. Interestingly, the newcomer - a beaut! - is more advanced than the old hand; look at that clean head, bill pattern and orbital ring, for a start. Slightly, confusingly, it also seems to have a shade paler mantle than the first bird: not argenteus Herring pale though and, according to folks who know these things in a way I never will, still within palate range for a Yellow-leg but nevertheless less dusky than any michahellis I've seen before.



It is a sign of the lockdown times that I have increasingly turned to larids to get my winter wildlife fix. In December I blogged about the first Yellow-legged Gull that I was aware of in Norwich since I moved here six years ago. That bird remains in residence three months later, receiving a gentle passage of admirers with nothing better to do, while being force-fed white loaves by local residents. Yesterday I took another look at it.