Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven

16 Dec

Had spent much of Sunday at a chilly High Eske NR and as I was just getting over a cold I quite felt like a rest when I got in. However just after 3pm got a text from Stuart Griffiths. “Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven.” As it was already looking dark in Cottingham my reply was “Great. Almost dark!”. However minutes later, as it was breaking on RBA, I got a call from Geoff Dobbs, the finder. He’d got it pinned down on grass so I felt obliged to go. The traffic wasn’t too bad around east Hull but the light was definitely  going! My chances weren’t help by the fact that apart from the Hedon bypass there is only a short section of 60mph speed limit between Hull and Patrington, the rest 30’s and 40’s with too many law abiding car drivers getting in the way. Reaching Patrington it was well dark with still at few miles to Outstray Road. Finally got there, just behind a couple from Brough, as a message came up that it had flown onto the Humber after showing well feeding on a fish. This was confirmed by all the lucky b……s, including Geoff, walking away leaving no-one on site. We continued to the pumping station but it was fools mission. Amazingly we weren’t the last to arrive with Dave and Sean Bryan arriving in the pitch black.

Monday morning I was fortunate to have a fairly light day for this time of year [I’m a postman!] as well as the offer of some help so when the Ivory Gull was reported back at Patrington Haven c8.30am I had some hope of seeing it. However I still had c6 hours before I would be on site so every message from Yorkshire was read immediately. Got a personal message  from Roy that it was still there c10am but distant on the salt marsh. The usual feeling in this situation was do I want it to stay or get a message than it had definitely gone then at least I could relax. The messages weren’t exactly pouring in but at least it seemed settled although not getting any closer. My day at work went smooth and I was home before 1.30pm. Then just a matter of eating quickly and combating exhaustion with a cup of strong coffee. Thus I found myself at the end of Out Stray c3pm. With a bike I had now problem squeezing in close to the gates. This time the news was positive with the hoards of returning birder including my mate Roy reporting the gull to be now showing well, feeding on fish that had been put down near the pumping station. Of course this wasn’t to last as with in 100m of the pumping station I saw it in flight then it appeared to drop on the foreshore just to the west. Well at least I’d seen it! The click of cameras and too many mobile calls had finally had their affect. Fortunately it was still reasonably close although a bit far for decent pictures.


Juvenile Ivory Gull-my best effort!


LGRE looking happy.


Patrington Strays at dusk.

Watched it till near dark with the crowd diminishing to 4. Finally it got up and flew around for several minutes occasionally looking to return to feed but eventually flew to mid river where I left it just visible drifting on the Humber.  Also had a distant Short-eared Owl on a post on Welwick Saltmarsh. Passed a late twitcher on the way back so hoped the couple of birders still there kept the gull in a ‘scope until he arrived. Know the feeling. That was me yesterday.

Well it’s spent 2 days there and with a supply of fish hopefully it’ll hang around so good luck to everyone hoping to connect. May get back for better views but not this weekend as I suspect Outstray Road will be parked up solid. Maybe Christmas day?


2 Responses to “Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven”


  1. Solitary Whooper Swan at High Eske NR | hullvalley - December 16, 2013

    […] Did some more birding this afternoon. See here. […]

  2. 2013 in 12 pictures | Erich's birding and biking blog - December 31, 2013

    […] This juvenile Ivory Gull found by Geoff Dobbs at Patrington Haven on the 15th was not just a Yorkshire tick for me but a […]

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