Whilst fiddling with this bleedin' blog and with one eye on Emmerdale this evening, I was completely oblivious to a rare Nearctic Gull that had turned up just a few miles from home. I had heard my pager bleeping away in the dining room but I had chosen to ignore it.... well it's the middle of July, it couldn't have been anything too tasty could it? Stevie Dunn was the first kind fellow to alert me that there was an adult FRANKLIN'S GULL at Chasewater. I grabbed my kit and shot off, reaching the reservoir in a record fourteen minutes flat.
Fact of the Day: An amazing 40% of Staffordshire based twitchers insist on wearing 'twat pants' whilst birding during the summer months (see picture below).
From left to right: The Cream of Staffordshire Birding - Gino, Jules Allen, Pezza Perrins, Snapper Richards, Dip Smith, Chopper Jones, The Moorehen.
Luckily the immaculate summer plumaged American Laridae remained on site until I arrived. There it stayed roosting amongst the Black-headed Gulls, occasionally lifting its head and have a quick stretch. A superb 'Staffordshire Tick' and another much needed 'Year Tick' too. Also on site there were up to 7 Western Yellow-legged Gulls amongst the Lesser Black-backed Gulls along with the odd Common Gull. Waders included a few Little Ringed Plover, the odd Common Redshank and a scattering of Common Sandpiper.
Franklin's Gull factoidz
- Franklin's Gull breeds on marshes and lakeland wetlands from southern Canada to South Dakota and Iowa and in scattered marshland in the western USA.
- It spends the winter mainly along the western coastline of South America.
- The species was named after the Lincolnshire born Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.
- It was originally named Franklin's Rosy Gull after the rosy-coloured hue to its breast in summer plumage.
- Franklin's Gull is unique among Laridae in that it has two complete moults each year rather than one. This equips it for the demands of the 5,000 mile migration it undertakes.
Franklin's Gull in the West Midlands Region
- 2002 - adult - Draycote Water, Warwickshire - 6th November.
- 2006 - adult - Blithfield Reservoir, Staffordshire - 9th to 10th August.
- 2008 - 2nd summer - Draycote Water, Warwickshire - 16th to 21st April.
- 2010 - adult - Chasewater, Staffordshire - 15th to 24th July.