It therefore came as some surprise when an inland Hume's Leaf-warbler turned up on Saturday. I decided to go for it and Alex Jones and Steff Leese picked me up from Crewe station and we were onsite within an hour.
Before too long, the bird came out into the open and upon first views, I really wasn't blown away. Now before I say this is because it was a rubbish bird, it was only because it came across as really bright, with the paler parts seeming really yellow and therefore not really all that distinctive from Yellow-browed. I was a touch worried about it.
It then flew across and landed in a small hawthorn at 50ft range, and then fed actively, including flycatching and hovering. This was much much better showing almost silvery underparts and just a much more overall cold appearence. Much more like it!
In addition, the tertials seemed like them were 'misty' as in the contrast between the dark centres and the pale fringes were a lot less contrasty and the second wingbar on the median coverts was much more less distinct the the greater coverts wing bar, unlike on Yellow-browed where they are quite similar.
A really great bird that showed on and off in the sun and remained vocal throughout and whilst being so silvery, you could pick it up at great distance with the naked eye.
Next we moved onto Chasewater as Alex and I still have never seen a Caspian Gull, so with up to 5 showing regularly in the gull roost throughout the winter, we were hopeful. We got there quite early and there was only a small amount of gulls present on arrival, but 2 Yellow-legged Gulls were picked out. As a small crowd formed, it wasn't too long before a 1st winter Glaucous Gull was picked up distantly. Even at this distance, it was an enourmous bird with really obvious two-toned bill.
I am not entirely sure what this bird actually is. I think the fact that we picked this bird up separately three times within the flock is a little worrying in terms of it being something good. It could well be a Caspian, but given the photos and that we didn't clinch it at the time, I think this is probably best left alone...