8th July

Yesterday's putative Yelkouan/Menorcan Shearwater reappeared off the Bill once the gull flock aggregated and lingered there all day, attracting a steady stream of observers throughout. Balearic Shearwaters numbered a good 70 at times with half a dozen or more Manx Shearwaters also present, whilst 118 Common Scoter, 8 Shelducks and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls passed through. The land got little serious coverage but a Whimbrel was still kicking about at the Bill.

Quite apart from the question of the bird's identity it sounded like there was a lot of discussion about quite how many individuals are involved. Our take on this matter is that we've spent plenty of time looking at the shearwater/gull flock today and have never seen more than one individual at a time (and have witnessed on very many occasions visitors unequivocally watching the wrong bird - the main confusion looks to be with Manx Shearwaters although one or two of the Balearics are also really pretty pale); however, there is such a melee of birds offshore at times that we could perfectly well believe that more than one individual is present. Supporting the multiple bird theory are apparent differences in plumage visible in photographs - particularly the prominence or otherwise of the underwing bar. Again, we'd like to see a wider selection of photographs before forming an opinion on this: yesterday's photographs were taken in bright sunshine, whereas today's were mostly taken in far gloomier conditions - is that maybe having some sort of effect in accentuating or diminishing shadows on the underwing? photos/video © Debby Saunders (stills), Martin Cade (video and crowd bottom) and James Phillips (crowd top):

Other odds and ends from the gull flock today included a couple of juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls...

...and the year's first 'out at sea' juvenile Herring Gull © Martin Cade: