North Cave Wetlands – 22/03/2018

A brief morning visit, sunny conditions with a gentle westerly breeze. Temperatures around seven degrees. The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still present on Main Lake, though remained in the far north-west corner of the lake during my short stay. Of interest however was what appears to be a hybrid Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus present on the lake. This bird has prompted some discussion on the YWT North Cave Wetlands facebook group as it was also photographed yesterday by Stuart. Comparing this bird in isolation shows the unusual primary pattern, similar to a 2nd summer Mediterranean. Comparing it side by side to the other Black-heads present shows the hood to be black, rather than chocolate brown, there being a striking contrast in the sunny conditions. The wings overall also appear to be slightly paler when at rest and the bill a brighter red with a darker tip. I managed a couple of record shots of the bird in flight, were it appears lighter in colour across the wings, the white wedge still visible, with the black spots showing on the primaries. Other bits of note included a pair of Shelduck Tadorna tadorna prospecting a burrow at the rear of the lake. The Ruff Calidris pugnax was present again on Village Lake, accompanied by ten Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta.

Mediterranean Gull - Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundusHYBRID – Mediterranean Gull – Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Mediterranean Gull - Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundusHYBRID – Mediterranean Gull – Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Mediterranean Gull - Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundusHYBRID – Mediterranean Gull – Larus melanocephalus x Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Shelduck - Tadorna tadornaShelduck – Tadorna tadorna