Living My Best Life

After volunteering at Blackpool parkrun yesterday I was due to be in Fairhaven for a ramble, but with some time to kill first. So I decided to stop by the waste transfer station at Mereside and go through the gulls on the roof. Rock and roll eh…

If your first thought on reading that was ‘why aren’t they dissuading gulls at a waste transfer station’ they certainly try, a bit. There is a fake owl on the roof where the gulls gather, which is meant to scare them. It doesn’t work at all, there are birds present at all times the facility is open and they don’t even give the pretend owl a wide berth. Today one young gull was actually pecking at its head rather than fleeing from the apex predator.

Pest control in action

For the uninitiated birders go the places like this in the hope of unusual visitors from further afield – northern visitors like Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull and eastern visitors such as Caspian Gull. All turn up regularly at other waste transfer stations in the north-west, and at roost sites nearby towards dusk. There is no real track record of this at the Blackpool facility, the exception being an Iceland Gull which commuted between the site, the nearby playing fields and Marton Mere for several winters after arriving in its first winter.

There were around 700 Herring Gulls on the relatively restricted roof space and I sifted through them in the hope of something unusual, or failing that reading some ring numbers as a reasonably high proportion of gulls are marked in this way. As it turned out I saw neither, the only other species of gull were Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed, joined at times by Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Feral Pigeons. When the bundle of energy that is a flock of Long-tailed Tits buzzed through it felt frightfully exotic by comparison.

Herring Gulls of various ages, and a couple of Black-headed Gulls circling

I received the latest gull guide at Christmas, and I will review it on here in due course. I have other material to compare it with…

It’s the one top right, and I’ve just realised I’ve missed one off this shot…

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