A beautiful day was forecast and I decided to make the most of it. I went first to Hayling Island where, at 0900, the sea in the harbour was like a mirror. I quickly got onto the two long-tailed ducks and the harbour was awash with red-breasted mergansers and the odd goldeneye. No sign of the green-winged teal though. There were several brent geese feeding in the oyster beds, good numbers of curlew, shelduck and redshank. When the tide started to come in, a pair of red-breasted mergansers fished in the strong current entering the lagoon. The current probably brought in the fish.
I intended to go to Gosport for the long staying ring-billed gull but I thought I'd go to Portsmouth on the way to see if there were any purple sandpipers. When I got there the tide was in and covered their habitat so no luck.
I moved on to the boating lake in Gosport where the ring-billed gull hangs out. There were quite a few gulls and a number of common gulls (which look very like ring-billed gulls) so it took some time sorting through them all. After a while I came across one I was almost sure was 'it', but I needed to go around the other side to have the light behind me.
Ring-billed gull, Gosport.
Sure enough, the one with the larger bill with more clearly marked ring (on common gull it is less distinct), the white eye with red surround (common is dark eye with no eye ring) and with a meaner aspect had to be the one. The light was perfect so I was able to take a number of shots, some with a common gull for comparison.
Ring-billed gull. Common gull behind.
Common gull, Gosport, for comparison.
I had a couple of hours daylight left. I decided to go to the New Forest for the great grey shrike but it was a wasted journey. I didn't have my OS maps with me and, apart from the OS ref., the location details were unclear so I couldn't find the place. That'll teach me to go unprepared.