My decent(ish) finds in Feb 2012: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler Carnon Downs 04/02, 1 Water Pipit Carnon Downs 04/02, 1 Smew Loe Pool 01/02

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

1st winter Sabine's Gull

1st winter Sabine's Gull west past Lizard Point, 9:05am, 9th April 2009

It is well known fact that most serious birders, whether they admit it or not care about their reputation. It is also a well known fact that a sure-fire way to destroy your reputation is to claim outrageous single-observer records on a sea-watch, particularly if it's the first bird you've found in your newly adopted county. Imagine therefore, the rather curious mixed feelings of trepidation and elation I felt when I watched a 1st winter Sabine's Gull fly past Lizard Point last Thursday. Exceptionally rare in Spring and a bloody good record even if I say so myself. However, not only quite common in Autumn, but also exactly the kind of bird that raises a few eyebrows and causes even the most genial to cast aspersions. Why couldn't it have been something nice and shiny and enjoyed by the masses, like a Great Spotted Cuckoo or a Snowy Owl? Anyway - after watching it for about a minute and a half as it flew past, I was able to take a few fieldnotes. Make of them what you will. The fact it was almost entirely in 1st winter plumage and only just beginning moult into 1st summer struck me as odd. I know Sabs have a reverse moult strategy compared to most gulls, but would have expected the bird to have moulted on wintering grounds. Any thoughts?


  1. Hi, it's good to see that you've hit the ground running in Cornwall! Any chance of a link to my blog ( so that you can keep uptodate with all of Whitlingham's hybrid geese?! Good luck for some Cornish megas this spring!

  2. Done mate - look forwards to hearing all about the geese....


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