23rd February

A reminder that there's an In Focus field event at the Obs between 10am and 4pm this Saturday, 25th February.

Although the influence of Storm Doris wasn't as conspicuous at Portland as it had been elsewhere it was still windy enough to severely restrict forays into the field. Fortunately there were some still willing to make an effort and there was a nice reward in the form of a Kumlien's Gull grounded for a while during the afternoon in the fields below Culverwell. A Sandwich Tern was new in at Portland Harbour, where 2 Eider and a Slavonian Grebe were still present; the only seawatch report was of a lone Common Scoter through off the Bill.

The Kumlien's Gull was pretty obviously a first-winter - an age during which (...so we've subsequently read in the Collins Bird Guide) they're considered to be indistinguishable from Iceland Gulls. Be that as it may, this bird was as coarsely marked an 'Iceland Gull' as we've ever seen and seems to show more pronounced versions of all the various plumage features - darker outer primaries, tail band etc - that you see on what are presumably diagnosable second-winter Kumlien's Gulls. Our only real concern was that this bird did look to be very strong-billed for any sort of 'Iceland Gull' (in life it looked to be quite a dainty bird so wasn't big all round) © Joe Stockwell:

...and a few of our photos from another angle © Martin Cade: