This winter, in contrast to last, ‘white-winged’ gulls have been difficult to catch up with at Ditchford Gravel Pits, the only ‘regular’ wintering site in recent years for Glaucous and Iceland Gulls in Northants. Since the first one turned up in December there have been at least four Glaucous Gulls – an adult, a near-adult and two juveniles.
The Glaucous Gulls have been highly mobile and sporadic in their appearances, sometimes showing up on Viaduct Pit and only very occasionally coming in to roost at nearby Stanwick GP but, generally, they have been difficult to pin down. Despite numerous visits to Ditchford and the nearby Sidegate Landfill, I did not manage to catch up with one until a week last Sunday (26th February) when a juvenile was on Viaduct Pit and visible distantly from the Wellingborough to Irthlingborough Road. Yesterday (3rd March) I connected with this nice juvenile on the watersports pit, just west of Ditchford Lane, where I was able to watch it for a good hour or so.
Ditchford and nearby Sidegate Landfill provide a combination of a safe bathing and loafing area and a ready source of continually topped-up food.
Get to grips with these gulls while you can. If Sidegate Landfill ever closes, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls will revert to their former rarity and become much more difficult to catch up with in Northants!