Suzanne and I had a very pleasant wander round Rainham in the sunshine this lunchtime – I was keen to catch up with a peculiarly large and black-and-white Little Grebe, and a couple of rossicus (Tundra) Bean Geese, since both would be London ticks.
Everything was very obliging (though the Slav was rather un-photogenic today – might return tomorrow), and I found a cracking 3rd winter Caspian Gull – I think this is yet another new individual on site following an excellent run of birds. Rainham is surely one of the best places in the country to see these right now, as long as you visit on a day when the tip is working (so not Sunday).
Photos were taken into the light so they’re not fantastic, but they show all the features: rather small pear-shaped head, long slim parallel sided bill, small dark eye, remnants of a streaky shawl on the nape, long thin legs, high chest and hanging belly to the rear. When it dropped onto the pool for a swim (showing very attentuated rear end, with primaries held high above the water), it spent a lot of time picking up bits of vegetation and messing about with them – I’ve seen Caspians do this a lot, no idea why though!