Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Franklin's Gull at Breydon: 37 years of waiting
On August 1st, a tweet just as I was leaving togo to work around 7.40am, stating there was a Franklin's Gull on Breydon and I quite simply ran to the car jumped in and drove there. I arrived at 8am and just beyond the hide was Peter A and the finder, plus Tony striding up too!! (couldn't resist that one). The bird was still there a magnificent moulting adult Franklin's Gull, my first ever and a bird I had been waiting to see ever since I missed the bird at Lowestoft in 1977, a mouth watering 37 years ago! The 1977 bird was famously found by the late Brian B, who was the bird man of Lowestoft and whose influence, fieldcraft and local patchwork influenced many of the movers and shakers on the Lowestoft scene today. This is certainly the rarity I have been waiting longest to see. The Franklin's Gull was on the mud the nearest bit looking west over the lumps and the water, it was seen in front of Gulls near a tyre and could be easily distinguished by its typically slate grey back. It was slightly smaller and more compact then Black- headed Gulls. With the forehead white and a thick blackish area stretching diagonally up from the black eye cupped white eye rings (above and below the eye)It showed a blackish and red bill with dark grey legs. Because it was a moulting adult the primaries were all black with no white wing mirrors that I would expect to see in a non- moulting adult. A really fine bird and it then flew over to the northern flats where it could be seen slightly closer in flint the bird was really distinctive with a characteristic white underwing almost Kittiwake like. At 8.50am, unfortunately I had to leave for work.