|The basic drawing was in the field with a quick colour added at home...|
What can be better than a pre-Christmas gift in the form of an Ivory Gull?
Two Ivory Gulls, thats what!
Festering around the house today chopping logs and tidying up, I was oblivious to the excitement unfolding just along the road at Beadnell, until I sat down for lunch to watch 'Wild Burma' and checked my phone. Loads of messages had come through from Gary, Ian and Steph telling me that there was an Ivory Gull at Seahouses golfcourse.
There was such a scatter, as I grabbed my gear, Clouded Leopard and Sun Bear were left playing and I jumped into the car and headed north. The light was already fading and I knew I wouldn't get on site until about 3pm, with adrenalin kicking in.
After two false starts, that saw an overweight almost 50 yr old running up and down dunes to get some bearings, I eventually saw a group of birders gathered near Beadnell, scoping a skeer just offshore. A quick drive along and I was out of the car and onto the birds immediately. One asleep, looked smaller than the other. Snow white with grubby looking patches, they sat quite unconcerned waiting until the tide pushed them off to roost.
What a superb pair, they should really be on the pack ice waiting for the cast offs from a Polar Bears dinner, but here they sat in a balmy, pleasant Northumberland winter.
The last one in the county was on 23rd December 1979 when Mike Hodgson saw one arrive from the east at Seahouses harbour only a mile from here. These twins are a county tick for just about every one and are well overdue.
I hope they stay awhile so all can catch up with them. I think I'll return for seconds in the morning....
PS - Looking at the literature, Northumberland has had the following records of Ivory Gull...
Adult shot off the Tyne prior to 1874
Two adults Holy Island 3rd Feb 1887
Imm shot Beadnell around 1897
Imm Tyne Estuary 18th December 1970 - 23rd February 1971
Imm Seahouses harbour 23rd - 25th December 1979
This makes today's birds the 7th and 8th county records.