Friday, 23 February 2018

Ross's Gull at Radipole Lake, Dorset

Having met Brian at 5am we arrived at Ferrybridge just after 8am. As we were parking the car news came through that the Ross's Gull had dropped in at Lodmoor! A quick turnaround and we are on route to Lodmoor. Pulling into the car park we found just a handful of cars. This did not fill us with any optimism, and sure enough, having re-checked the pagers report "Adult on West scrape then flew West over North end possibly towards the Fleet".  We drove back to Ferrybridge and joined the long line of birders already taking shelter from the bitterly cold conditions below the path. A couple of hours later I had added a Rock Pipit to my year list, but although welcome it wasn't exactly what I had hoped for. Red-breasted Mergansers were present in good numbers and Ringed Plovers seemed to be everywhere  I looked. But there were only small numbers of gulls present and with no sign of any movements incoming we headed for Radipole and some much-needed refreshments.

After a coffee and a bite to eat we returned to Lodmoor and after scanning from the Bandstand we quickly located the Two Spoonbills for another year tick.

Then news broke that the Ross's Gull was present at Lodmoor. A brief panic followed before the pager bleeped into life again with another message saying that this report was erroneous and the bird was in fact at Radipole Lake!
A quick three-mile dash along the seafront to Radipole Lake followed and we thankfully find the Ross's Gull resting on a small shingle island close to the reserve centre.

Ross's Gull

It's only the third record of this high Arctic species recorded in Dorset, with both the previous two records (an adult bird in1967 at Weymouth Bay & an immature individual in 1974 at Stanpit Marsh) being recorded in August.
According to many of the birders we talked to the bird had been very erratic the previous day, only showing briefly and giving plenty of them the runaround. This morning it was looking like a repeat of yesterdays events until it dropped in at Radipole Lake and remained on that small shingle island for 40-45 minutes!

A lot of happy birders scanning the small shingle island

Before leaving for home we dropped in at Lodmoor once more and found the 2nd & 3rd winter Glaucous Gulls resting up together on a small spit along the Western side.

2nd & 3rd winter Glaucous Gulls

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