Covenham Reservoir 05/01/14

An afternoon visit to the reservoir produced: 2 Long-tailed Ducks (the 2 still present since I initially saw them on 29/12), 2 Goosander, 68 Wigeon (a noteworthy count for here), adult Peregrine and 2 Common Buzzard. I braved the strengthening winds and stayed until last light to watch the throngs of gulls arrive. Covenham is very much a "small gull" reservoir with very few big gulls visiting the site. Common Gulls are indeed the most common gull seen here with also good numbers of black-headed. I didn't manage to pick out a Med Gull which can often be found lurking in amongst the masses but I did find a rather striking dark-hooded and dark-breasted Common Gull right out in the middle of the water close to dusk, hence the poor record shot below.

Common Gull - but which race?

I've seen plenty of Common Gulls with varying amounts of dark feathering on the head and neck over the years but the full extent of dark tones on the head and matched on the breast area was something I'd not seen before.
Just a dark Canus? Or a dark heinei? -  in winter heinei generally show streaking on the head and on the neck (forming a necklace), not normally as extensively dark as the above bird.
Much to still learn about larids.

2 Common Buzzards on the way home over the A16 when it was virtually dark rounded off the sightings for the day.

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