Birds That May Fly In Skein Formation?

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Togo | 17:15 Sat 05th Jan 2019 | Twitching & Birdwatching
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Whilst out filling the bird feeders this morning I was delighted to spot a flight of birds in the brilliant V, skein, formation. Now these were not geese or indeed birds that resembled a wildfowl
wing action. More a Gull or Tern wing shape, faster beat, and the lead positions were changing very quickly. I did not have chance to grab by "bins" as they were moving pretty fast. We have a very good "bird sanctuary" a few miles away and they were headed in that direction. They came in from A northerly direction, over the sea. I wonder if anyone has any idea what they may have been.


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Lesser black backed gulls sometimes fly in skeins when flying to roost.
17:50 Sat 05th Jan 2019
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Definitely not Cormorants chaps. Smaller with a definite Tern/gull like wing. Very much this wing and tail shape.
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Also much tighter formation than the images supplied by Shoota and Baldric.
There has been an influx of woodcock recently but I don't know if they fly in a skein. Were they brown?
Always possible I suppose.
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Definitely sea birds Shoota. Never seen such in 50 years living on the coast. I have emailed the local bird sanctuary with the question but as yet had no reply. Some Terns do fly the Skein. I would love to know which they were. Very impressive flight by the way or I would not have posted the question. Kicking myself for not getting a picture or video. I just stood there gawping like a half wit.
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Well well. I have just received this mail from a warden at our local Bird Sanctuary. Black Headed Gulls I would think. Too small for Herring Gulls.

Hi Togo, (Togo Edit)

In reply to your email about birds flying over Old Colwyn in a V formation, if you’re certain they aren’t geese then they’ll most likely be gulls, and probably herring gulls or black-headed gulls (definitely not terns as they’ll all be in Africa at the moment). While not particularly usual, it’s also by no means out of the question that they might be flying in V shapes. I’ve seen them doing it a few times before.

Best wishes

Tim Wallis

Gwarchodfa Natur RSPB Conwy Cyffordd Llandudno, Conwy, LL31 9XZ
RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9XZ
There are many, many Black Headed gulls on and around the Embankment in Bedford. Strangely, they do not have black heads!
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More importantly Tills have you ever seen them fly the skein formation? I have been up here on the coast for 50 years and never seen it before. Well pleased with the reply. I wonder if warden Wallis has a dog called Gromit? :))
Tim never tires of that one, Togo.
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Lol Douglas, I'm sure..:))

BA for Melv who did indeed give us a good pointer early doors.
No, Togo. They don't fly in skein formation. The wheel and dip and dive. Then, they stand on the Embankment it a long row and take off individually as you walk past them. They are very pretty birds. I like them.
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Just a point Tills...… They do indeed have a "black head" in their summer plumage. There are lots of them on the coast here and they are indeed lovely creatures. Ruddy Herring Gulls are a pest and a nuisance, for the most part, in residential areas.
Winter plumage at the moment, Togo. They are definitely not Herring Gulls.
Well done, Melv, by the way. :-)
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Red legs are the easy spot Tills. (Not yours) (^_*)
In Turkey recently, I was surprised to see Cormorants flying in skein. never seen them do it in summer.
I'll take a photo of the legs tomorrow and post it on here.
Yayyy. I don't get many best answers.
There's a pair of bearded tits in Sheffield at the moment and the waxwing numbers are building:-)

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