Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Birding First For Britain – Greggs Gull

I usually enjoy a few hours of birding on Saturday mornings when the rush of commuters is less frenetic, allowing me to stop and stare alongside busy roads when necessary. Even other birders seem to take a day off on a Saturday to collect their brownie points by taking a spouse shopping or other such mundane responsibilities. Not me. 

Although the morning started out dry the cloud and rain of June and now July spread in quickly from the North West. This time there was a blustery feel to it, a double scenario which led to nothing much to report. 

But here goes; and there’s a bonus later by way of a true story for lovers of gulls, large or small. 

I stopped at Braides Farm to hear a Raven in full voice, a deep and majestic croak echoing across the fields. The Raven had taken exception to the resident Buzzard sat along the fence where it spends the short summer nights. I’m betting the Buzzard was in situ before the Raven chanced along that way but the huge black beast was having none of it and chased the Buzzard further away. Just 20 or so yards away proved enough to placate the Raven for now. All went quiet as the Raven occupied the spot the Buzzard vacated. 

Raven

“The intriguing Common Raven has accompanied people around the Northern Hemisphere for centuries, following their wagons, sleds, sleighs, and hunting parties in hopes of a quick meal. Ravens are among the smartest of all birds, gaining a reputation for solving ever more complicated problems invented by ever more creative scientists. These big, sooty birds thrive among humans and in the back of beyond, stretching across the sky on easy, flowing wingbeats.” All About Birds.

I could hear Skylarks calling from across the fields where post-breeding Curlews fresh from the uplands have begun to gather in numbers. A couple of fields contained 100+Curlew and small gatherings of Carrion Crows.

Conder Green often provides one or two agreeable moments such as this morning when I watched two Kingfishers hurrying by a foot or so above the choppy water. As usual it’s the unique call that alerts a birder to the presence of a Kingfisher, a shrill but short single or double whistle before the flash of a blue bird appears (or more likely disappears). I’m certain that the two today would be an adult accompanied by a juvenile. Like so many other species of birds Kingfisher families stick together to some extent until the youngsters become fully independent.

Kingfishers

The Kingfishers were the highlight of my visit but other notables included 10 Common Sandpiper, 130 Lapwing, 90+ Redshank, 16 Oystercatcher and 4 Little Egret plus the resident and breeding Avocets and Common Terns, both of which have yet to present flying young.

Common Sandpiper

Otherwise - 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Wigeon, 12 Curlew, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Linnet and 1 Blackcap. Yes, it was a quiet hour or two of birding.

But now for aficionados of the much maligned family of gulls comes news of a new skill recently acquired - going shopping. Watch the video; it’s hilarious. 




From The Metro newspaper - "A Herring Gull was spotted “swaggering” into a Greggs (a UK chain of fast food bakery shops) in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, on the morning of 30th June by customer Gordon Lindsay.

He reckoned the gull had definitely formulated a plan of attack to get some Greggs goodies. Gordon, 41, said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it. The seagull knew exactly what it was doing. I’d stopped in to get a bacon sandwich on the way to work. The gull knew how to open the automatic doors by flapping its wings and then it headed straight for the crisps. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It then wandered around and pinched a packet of crisps off the bottom shelf. It had absolutely no shame and certainly didn’t hang around once it had got what it wanted.’

Gordon added that the bird ‘flapped again to open the doors and off it went’."

What next for the opportunistic, intelligent and adaptable gull family you might ask? Well there is a Marks and Spencer just along from our local Greggs where the gulls might find some slightly more upmarket products than crisps and pasties. And the shopping baskets are handily placed at the entrance door.

Herring Gull

Well a Greggs Gull is a definite first for me even if I didn’t see it live. But stay tuned for the best and most up-to-date bird news with Another Bird Blog.

Linking this post to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and Anni's Birding Blog


27 comments:

sandyland said...

so enjoyable cannot get over the look of those kingfishers compared to our big blues here ??!

carol l mckenna said...

More wonderful bird photos ~ that raven is awesome ~

Happy Independence Day Weekend to you ~ ^_^ in the USA

David Gascoigne said...

That's a great story about the gull, Phil. You know who I'm rooting for. Maybe some kind birder will leave some fish filets on the bottom shelf for this enterprising Herring Gull. And the shot of the Kingfishers is absolutely precious. They look like little coloured penguins marching along. I'm not sure I have ever seen a kingfisher walking.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Cool capture of the two Kingfishers. They are beautiful birds. The Herring Gull shot is lovely. Happy weekend to you!

David Gascoigne said...

Hey Phil: You left a comment on my latest post and I inadvertently deleted it. If you could redo it that would be wonderful. Thanks. David

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful collection you have made, I love the Kingfishers, female and male, fantastic Phil.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Had to call Bill to come look at the video -- he always says that gulls and crows would take over the world if only they had thumbs. (Your raven would definitely be up there too -- maybe even at the head.) We both enjoyed -- and at least one of us wishes we could go birding with you! With or without the gull.

Linda said...

Lovely birds, Phil, and ravens are so intelligent! :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Lovely selection of bird during your outing today. I have seen a similar gull take something from a shop in YouTube. Very clever gull

Monika B said...

Your photos are insane.
Regards:)*
Monika

Anni said...

This is too funny!! A sneaky, clever and determined gull!! Hilarious.
Love the Raven shot. It too knew just what it wanted...the buzzard throne for the day.

You saw a lot of birds on your outing for Saturday morning. The pair of those gorgeous kingfishers [some of like we just don't have here in the states] is my favorite today.

Thanks Phil, for linking in this weekend. [I had to add a correction on your linking tho, the first one took us back to I'd Rather B Birdin' for some reason]

Stuart Price said...

Man, I could murder a Greggs cheese and onion pasty right now.............

Janice Adcock said...

lovely images

Dina Lettre said...

Really beautiful!

Fun60 said...

Great picture of those kingfishers. What a cheek that gull has.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Phil that bird is a genius.

Obviously brighter than Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, together!
~

mick said...

Our Crows sound to be just an noisy and aggressive as yours - but our Gulls are definitely not as smart! Maybe in this environment it is still easier for them to get their food from more natural places! Great bird photos!

Lowcarb team member said...

Those two Kingfishers are brilliant, and I always remember to enlarge the image!
Love the video you ended with ...

Hope the weather may show some improvement this week.

Take care

All the best Jan

NC Sue said...

Gorgeous photos!
Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/07/happy-independence-day.html

Kristiina said...

Beautiful photos. Those Kingfishers look like colorful minipenguins.

R. Täysin arkista

David Gascoigne said...

Hooray for the gull I say! Smarter than some humans, Donald Trump for example.......

Findlay Wilde said...

The Kingfishers always look a bit strange sitting up like that. Really enjoyed that sneaky gull, do you think it went for Prawn Cocktail crisps?

Modesto Viegas said...

Great post!!!

Adam Jones said...

Great Kingfishers shots, but my favourite is the Common Sandpiper. I always enjoy finding these birds.

Chris Rohrer said...

Hello stranger:) It has taken me forever to get back into the read mode. I was out of the state on vacation having fun. I'm back now catching up. Ravens and Gulls are so interesting. They are very smart and know exactly how to get what they want. I watch them. And they watch me. They are very much like alligators or crocs. They will sit hours and just watch and learn. That's why I love them so much. Hummingbirds are the same way. The gull at the store made me smile. They are very clever.

Kay L. Davies said...

Hi Phil — Thinking of you and Sue and the problem of whether Kay's Chippy will be open or not. So lucky, aren't we, to have such problems?
Gorgeous raven you photographed, and I loved the kingfishers. Wonderful colours.
I'm posting a bit to my blog these days, but not as often as in the past (when I was younger, of course).
Cheers,
Kay

Marian Green said...

What a collection - all about birds then...

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