Sunday, 4 February 2018

Glaucous gull, Hollingworth Lake

For the past week or two there has been a very obliging juvenile glaucous gull at Hollingworth Lake, near Rochdale in Greater Manchester. I've put off going to see it for a number of reasons, not least because I don't like the place and the traffic can be very bad in that area, but also because I didn't really want to see the bird surrounded by the massed ranks of photographers no doubt trying to feed it meal worms or fish and chips or some such thing. However having heard one or two encouraging and reassuring reports, today I finally succumbed, and when Elaine announced that she'd liked to go for a walk, I suggested Hollingworth Lake.

The bird is showing very well at close range,  though fortunately when it lands on its favoured jetty it's not too close. There is a 2m high gate which prevents photographers trying to get a photograph of its eyeball on macro focus.

Of course with my little camera I'm unlikely to be able to add much to the plethora of photographs which are already out there, but I'm still quite pleased with my efforts, especially these with the canoes going past. I can't decide which of the two photos I like best, the top one is a better balanced photo I think, but the bottom one has the name of the lake on the boat which is good.

Always nice to get a sharp open wing shot. I think this is probably about the whitest looking glaucous gull I've ever seen. Glaucous gulls don't moult for the first time until they are well into their second year, so this bird is still in its juvenile plumage, but it's probably a lot whiter now than it was six months ago due simply to feather wear. That said, the feathers visible on this photo don't look particularly worn, especially when compared say to the Heuglin's gulls I've previously seen in Cyprus in December 2016 or again this year in January.

Fieldcraft tip No.1: If you want to get a  really close up photograph of a gull, make friends with a  likely looking mother and child and eventually they'll start chucking bread in.

I'm not happy about this photo, it breaks one of the unspoken rules which apply to all high arctic species.  Never allow yourself to be photographed sandwiched between a Canada goose and a mallard. The bird is an embarrassment. Six months ago it was likely stealing food at a polar bear kill, but now this! Complete lose of credibility.

The sun can be a curse as much as a blessing with such a white bird as this. Really a bright cloudy day is better, I just about got away with it in this photo. Don't ignore the common gull in the background, what a cracker! I haven't accidentally drawn a red line across these photos by the way, that's some kind of rope thingy on the jetty. No idea what, but it certainly adds colour.

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