Kumlien’s Gull-adult at the Cotwold Water Park, Pit 57 (Somerford Lake) 10 January 2014

On 10 January 2014 I set out in the morning to go birding in the Cotswolds and to visit a bank. After a Shrike-less visit to Cirencester Park I visit the nearby town to pay in the cash from my son’s Christmas laptop saving fund for use of my credit card to purchase it. As I was nearby and had not visited for years I ended up in the Cotswold Water thinking it would be nice to see a drake Smew. I made my first stop at pit 57 to walk Ted (little family dog who gave me the pleading eyes when I was setting out hence getting to tag along) along the Thames. I was, as is usual drawn to the flocks of wildfowl but eventually turned my attention to the gulls.

Trying to scope through gaps in the hedge I saw what looked like an Iceland Gull among the Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and Common Gulls. It was very difficult to get a decent view, it was breezy, the bird was on the far, sheltered, side of the lake and nearly always facing directly away from me (into the wind). I moved to new spots to get a side view and avoid the albeit weak low winter sun, being directly in line with the bird. I spent a long time with it trying to get some decent pictures, below are the best I could manage as I was also trying to soak up any flank-on views when it presented.

I did not see it flap very well, what I did see it appeared very white wing-tipped. It preened and showed the true extent of the dark chevrons on the primaries which were narrow. The bird spent most of the time asleep day-roosting on the water with the bill tucked away. I never got a flight view or saw the legs. In the end I ran out of time and had to leave but put news out as soon as I got a signal.

Some features that it sported…

rounded ‘inflated, Fulmar-like’ head, ‘friendly’ and soft looking.

even, smallish, non-fierce bill with blunt tip.

feint ghost chevrons on underside of primaries.

very narrow dark (not solid black) chevrons on upper side of primaries- I think dark grey. Right wingtip more well marked than left.

light head streaking with darker masks around eyes.

long winged.

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill (1)

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill, 002

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill 001

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill, 003 (1)

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill, 004 (1)

Kumlien's Gull, adult, CWP Pit 57, 10 Jan 2014, MJMcGill,005 (2)

I was satisfied that I was watching an adult Kumlien’s Gull which I do not see very often. I did catch up with a bird on the Gloucester tip but had poor flight views only. A better experience was with a Kim Milson? found adult that roosted on nearby Pit 16 so many years ago I don’t remember the year.

Martin J McGill

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