Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Not a Waste of Petrel

I didn't do any birding last weekend, thanks to my car overheating and being rather concerned about it. I got a stack of housework done though.

In the end, nothing wrong with it apart from a pocket of air in the radiator. Phew, I really thought it was going to be the head gasket, which is painfully expensive. I had a head gasket go on Christmas Eve once, but that's another story.

But before all that, and it seems like ages ago now, last Thursday after work I had a sneaky twitch to Belvide to look at the Leach's Petrel. The traffic was terrible, took half an hour to get out of Stafford and onto the M6 (probably also caused a loss of radiator water). So it was a relief that the bird was still there, as were Belvide stalwarts, Steve Nuttall and Bernie Smith.

It was a great bird to see, but you can't help feeling it was mightily out of place, and it was continually harrassed by gulls. I've only ever seen one Leach's Petrel before, which was at Shustoke Reservoir in 1997, and exactly the same behaviour happened. Leach's Petrel and Black-headed Gulls, it's a chase worthy of "The Benny Hill Show".

For the younger reader whom doesn't know who Benny Hill is, next time you see a Leach's Petrel being chased around by Black-headed Gulls, start whistling this tune!

So what is it with Gulls chasing after a Petrel like that? It must be either the Gulls see the Petrel as prey, or the Gulls associate the Petrel with food, either by seeing or smelling it. Answers on a postcard...........

No comments: