In contrast to yesterday, today was cold, dark, windy, grey, and generally quite dreary, so it was nice to see the colour pop of this gull’s vivid bill as I walked past the Bancroft Basin this afternoon. It was also sporting the red eye-rim that I think indicates a fully adult bird – though gulls are tricky beasts and my knowledge of them is very superficial, so I wouldn’t want to be quoted. One or two of the adults in Stratford are now moulting into their full breeding plumage, their heads turning a deep chocolate brown colour, but this one was still wearing its winter white, with just a black cheek patch and a dusting of eye-shadow. It was watching some students who’d brought seed to throw into the water for the birds, and deciding whether to lift off and join the mêlée that was already taking place in front of them.
While I was in town my mind was very much on owls and owling, and weather and ground conditions up in the high Cotswolds, and despite the fact that shopping is my absolutely least favourite activity I managed to come home with thermals and a new pair of walking shoes. Much less exciting than buying new camera gear, but I’m sure I’ll be glad of both the next time I’m balancing on a muddy slope in 1° of wind-chill. I also remembered during the day that in the excitement of posting my images last night, I forgot to update my bird list with the flock of linnets that flew over our heads at the end of the afternoon.