Kumlien's Gull

Thursday, 13th February 2014

What with travelling down to Devon from here in Dorset twice already in recent weeks, to see the White-billed Diver and Bonaparte's Gull, this could become a habit. A habit, that is, if birds like the Axmouth, adult Kumlien's Gull continue to show.

It was rather by chance that I stumbled across Steve Waite Twitter message that he had just found said larus on the River Axe about a couple of hours drive from here. This was such a spellbinding bird for me that I waited all afternoon on Tuesday for it's rediscovery. Unfortunately however, by the time the Axe birders had in their sights again, it was too late in the day for me to get there before dusk.

'He who dares wins' they say, and dare (for once in my life), I did. I headed straight down there at dawn yesterday. I arrived at the riverbank and coincidently encountered finder Steve immediately. He was on the bird. We spent the next hour, between showers, in and out of our cars that were parked beside the river. Kumlien's meanwhile crouched throughout among Herring Gulls just across the water from us in front of the tram sheds.

I was fortunate enough to arrive on site before the heavy rain began, managed great views through the scope but only a few, low quality photos. The bird remained perched throughout so I didn't get to see any more than you see here. The view may not have been terrific, but being my first Kumlien's, this latest visit to Devon was both very pleasurable and enlightening experience. Congrats to Steve for finding this terrific gull and many thanks for getting me on it as it initially lie hidden among the Herrings in such a position I may conceivably have overlooked.

Please visit Steve's blog for his account and photos. Karen Woolley was one of the lucky birders to have been present on the first day. She has a great selection of this Kumlien's Gull photos here.

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