Posts Tagged ‘Iceland Gull


Hardly Iceland

A day or so before New Years Eve the rain had abated and left a balmy end of year Southern wind casting up from the Azores. The warmest winter temperatures for a long time … maybe on record.

I took the decision to make the most of the heatwave and visit Cley to seek out the Iceland Gull that had been roaming the coastline there for the past week or two. It had been visiting a seal carcass just east of the beach road. I thought that may be a good place to start. Even as I walked down the beach I could see the distinctive white winged form cutting the air distantly towards North scrape. It promptly flew over me and West to Halfway House. I’d no sooner put the message out and it returned and flew east towards Weybourne. Taking a photo wasn’t going to be that easy. To add to the difficulty the beach couldn’t have been busier if it had been a bank holiday. Still I had some good company as i waited for the gull to return which it eventually did. Sadly it looked to have an issue with one of its legs. I was told this was because of an entanglement with fishing line the previous day. Enough said.

A seasonal bird in un-seasonal weather.


Shopping at Iceland

Wandering up and down the beach at Weybourne this week was an Iceland Gull. Alternating between the Sperm Whale and a couple of dead Grey Seal pups it was sustaining itself on a rich supply of beach-kill.



On the 2nd of March I was beginning to get cabin fever. With a tour cancelled because of the snow and my supplies here at the flat exhausted, it was time to venture out. The snow was no longer falling but temperatures were low. I mean … low. The cold wind was one of those winds that didn’t go around you. It cut straight through. Two pairs of overtrousers, two coats, gloves, hat and all I could get on and still walk, and I was still bloody cold. I took the camera to the beach here in West Runton. Ten minutes later I was thinking to myself ‘What the hell am I doing here’. Cabin fever seemed like the better option. As I approached the boat ramp I could see gulls were flocking on the tideline. A sheltered spot and I was able to do a sweep through them. An Iceland Gull and a Med Gull … unlikely bedfellows. I decided to venture onto the beach and get a photo of the Iceland. As I picked my way between the boulders the slicing wind took on a new energy; seemingly determined to push me over. I got to the tideline and no sign of either gull. All that was left was me and a lonely Sanderling, both of us leaning into the wind.


“To your right!”

The intermittent Iceland Gull within the Cley area recently, has been damn difficult to see. We were stood in the ‘beach hotel’ at the NWT Car Park when it flew east just offshore at nothing less than warp eight speed. “Our engines canny take any more Jim” It couldn’t have flown faster had it been designed by Sir Frank Whittle.

Too quick for some to see … apparently.



Some excellent bird tours in February. Around 6 trips into the Brecks and almost as many into the Broads. The tour on the day of storm Doris was a challenge to say the least, but we still managed a few things of interest. Here’s a compendium of photos of just a few birds we came across during the month.

bewicks-swan crane glaucous-gull goshawk great-grey-shrike hawfinch iceland-gull lesser-spotted-woodpecker mediterranean-gullrough-legged-buzzardsiskinsnow-buntingwaxwingwoodlark



Shopping at Iceland

Passing Salthouse duckpond yesterday I stopped the car and had a good look through the gulls perched seemingly everywhere. One almost immediately stood out from the congeries. There had been an Iceland Gull seen here in recent days … it was back. Stood in short grass the disarray in its plumage was obvious as was it’s reluctance to fly. It also had a gammy leg, was heavy with feather life and spent much of its time with its eyes closed. the bird had obviously seen better days.

Moving the vehicle and walking down the shingle ridge nearby the antics of a 40+ strong flock of Snow Bunting were a delight to watch. On returning to the vehicle the Iceland Gull had moved into the field adjacent to where the car was parked. It was now in longer grass but was closer; although still reluctant to fly.




Shellfish on ice

When friend Bob and I visited the river Ouse where it flows through King’s Lynn last spring we both made a comment. We were looking at the congregation of gulls at the shellfish processing plant when we agreed that it would be a great place to find an Iceland Gull during the winter.

Last week we found ourselves in the area and had heard an Iceland had been seen on the Ouse. It didn’t take us long to find it… right beside the shellfish processing plant! Initially it was on the dockside roofs but it soon came down to the bank side where it made itself very available for photographs.

Iceland Gull



April Mystery Bird

Most people’s perception of Gull identification is perhaps best summed up by one entrants submission “It’s a Bl**dy Gull”

Gulls can certainly be a challenge but March’s mystery bird should not pose too many problems if features are looked at carefully.

The gull is obviously one of the white winged gulls either Glaucous or Iceland. The other options of Kumlein’s or Viking Gull (a hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull) would show darker edges to some primaries. Glaucous Winged Gull a relatively new addition to the British List would show greyer primaries.

On perched gulls the ratio of the bill length to eye diameter is conclusive (Iceland has a bill under 4x the eye diameter while Glaucous is over 4x quite often 5x or more). The difference between Glaucous and Iceland Gulls can also be done simply on structure. Iceland is a smaller more compact Gull with a relatively shorter bill. Glaucous is a brute of a gull with a big head, bill and fierce expression. In flight it would look full-chested and bigger bodied than Iceland. Our bird is indeed a daintier, slimmer bodied benign looking Iceland Gull photographed appropriately in Iceland during February.

All answers were for Iceland or Glaucous with twenty two answers for Iceland Gull. Phil and Jan Thorpe did it again and now have four successive correct answers. Once again well done.

There has been an invasion of white winged gulls into the country this last winter and I’m hoping on our Scotland trips this month we catch up with one or two as they move back north.

April’s Mystery bird is pictured below and should be quite easy. Please submit the id by email to The rules of the competition can be found in a previous posting here. Give it a go … it doesn’t cost anything and you could easily win as successively correct answers mount up!

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Apr 2023


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