Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Friday, 6 July 2012

Sabine's in the sun

Yesterday I had a tick, or a twitch.

We've had a Sabine's Gull the last few days, blown of course, presumably on its way to its wintering grounds in Africa. It finished up at one of the reservoirs at Tring, called Startops; an occasional visiting place for me.

A lot of local birders, and twitchers have been there the last few days, and quite a few posts on the local bird groups about it "wowing the crowds".
There's also been some debate as to where previous sightings in years past should be logged now, if the county borders have changed.
I couldn't resist chipping in with, 'many years ago we were joined to Europe. That doesn't make us French now.'
Naturally the 'grown ups' chose to ignore my part of the debate. No sense of humour some of them.

Anyway, yesterday started cloudy as usual, but I decided to take a ride there anyway, hoping the circus had left town by now.

I got there about 6 a.m., and soon found the 'bird', off in the distance, sitting on some straw bales, used to clean the water of algae.

 Just me, him, the other birds, and a couple of fishermen on the far bank.

He sat there for some time, snatching the occasional insect that dared fly past him.
And then the rain started!
Oh well, just another summers day then.

I walked up and down the bank looking for other avian subjects. The Common Terns were putting on a fine aerial display, but the Sabine's was content to have a lie in this morning, and just snack on the passing insects for breakfast.

I was eventually joined by another gentleman with a 'fancy' video camera. We both stood watching the distant gull.

The rain was getting heavier now, so I walked back to my car, to get my coat. A bit pointless really, since once you're wet, you're wet.
By the time I'd made the shortish journey, got my coat, and returned, the rain had begun to stop. 

The gull had moved closer too.

He began making short journeys from bale to bale, and then the sun came out.

Now, if he would just fly around a bit, that would be perfect.

A couple more people began to turn up with their scopes and cameras by now, and we were soon looking like the makings of a 'twitch'.

The bird stretched his wings.

Takeoff was imminent.

 He settled.

Then he finally took off, and treated us to a fine flight display.

A magnificent looking bird, and one I'll probably never ever see again.

A real 'star' at 'Startops'.

And today? 


Enjoy your upcoming weekend


  1. Oh my gosh, Keith! These photos are fabulous...and you got all the poses too! :-) I enjoyed the video...seeing the flight was wonderful.

  2. You definitely 'ticked your twitch' Keith, and you managed to get some decent light...eventually!!

    You got some great shots, nice to see a few 'non flight' shots for a change.

    I hope you didn't upset the 'grown ups' too much...lol.

    Like you say a bird that we may never get the chance to see again...well worth a visit...[;o)

  3. Superb photos and video of a really stunning gull Keith!
    I can call you a fellow twitcher now! ;)
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  4. Thanks Kelly. A fantastic bird to see. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

    Cheers Trevor. Yea, turned out nice in the end :-)
    Took a lot of pictures; then took more when I walked round Wilstone. lol

  5. Thanks John. Yea, a cracking bird.
    I don't think I could call myself a twitcher though. lol

  6. I really like your in-flight series of images, great shots.

  7. A cracking bird and definitely worth the effort of getting soaked. Super selection of images Keith.

    The weather has returned to normal down here as well!

  8. A cracking set of shots Keith. It is quite an acrobatic flier.

  9. An excellent twitch there Keith :-) it put on a wonderful display for you which you captured beautifully.

  10. Thanks Mike. He was a great performer.

    Thank you Frank; yea, a lovely bird to see.
    This weather has been dire this year so far.

    Thank you John. He certainly kept me on my toes whilst trying to catch him on camera flying.

    Thank you Jan. It was a real star. Worth the short drive; and I took in a few other birds too.

  11. he's really beautiful. so glad you got to see him up close and in action. you made me laugh out loud with your french comment! :)

    (and thank you for your kind comment on my post/thoughts today...)

  12. Thanks Theresa.
    I think there's enough material for some future posts about our 'grown up' birders over here. lol

  13. Keith, great post! Lovely bird! I'm glad you patients paid off!

  14. Cracking images Keith. Not seen one of these myself but looks like a very nice Gull. I can see why you wanted it to fly as those wing patterns are very nice.

  15. Perfection in every way. Brilliant photos.

  16. Great photos and video Keith. Well done. Great display of flight by this lovely bird.

  17. Great job, HM, I'm glad you captured the rare bird. But in the end it's not prettier than your English gulls, is it?

  18. A lovely set of this rear one Keith, worth getting wet for.
    'French', goodness me I hope not.{:)

  19. YIPPIE so glad you got these awesome shots of this stellar bird!!! Have a great weekend.

  20. Wow, Keith. Just wow! These are awesome photographs. Such a beautiful bird...and so beautifully captured by your lens.

  21. Beautiful images, and that video is wonderful. How you manage to follow the bird as it's flying, I don't know, but I'm glad you did.

  22. Congrats, Keith. The gull certainly performed well for you.

  23. Thanks Robin.

    Thanks Adam. Yea, those wing markings are special.

    Thank you Bob.

    Thanks Horst. It sure was a beauty.

    Thanks JoLynne. Yea, I think they're all beautiful :-)

    Cheers Roy.

    Thanks Sondra. :-)

    Linda, thank you.

    Thanks Gillian. Yea, these flying birds can be tricky with the video sometimes. :-)

    Choy Wai, thank you.

  24. Keith,
    WOW!!! those flight shots are amazing.What a good looking bird.Really enjoyed your video.Have a great weekend!


  25. Thanks Shantana. Enjoy your weekend too :-)

  26. Always nice when something unusual turns up locally, and glad the weather complied to allow you to get such lovely pictures. Enjoyed the video, too.

  27. Beautiful captures!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  28. Thanks Jeremy. A lovely bird to see, and I managed to catch it on the one best day we had.

    Thanks Gary, glad you enjoyed them.