Black-legged Kittiwake from Chamravattom, Malappuram

Friday after noons are reserved for birding at Ponnani beach. On last friday ie 25 of January i had to go to K.V.K Thavanoor to buy some vegetable seeds.. After buying the seeds i thought of coming back by visiting Chamravattom bridge area.. I reached there at around 2.15 pm. The area was not crowded with Gulls as it were during this season. First my attention was attracted by the brown and black headed Gulls ,nearly 50 of them flying and looking for food. As they were little away I moved on through the bridge and looking at the the left side .

I found Western reef herons, Pond herons, Cattle egrets and one Striated heron. I was able to capture them in my camera. Next i found two Common greenshanks resting on the rocks there. Then there was a small group of Gulls nearly 30 in number, most of them were sleeping and some were very busy in preening. In between the Black headed gulls there was a very different bird with black legs, the head was not visible from above. I tried to take photos but was not able to capture it fully. I moved on as there were Grey herons sitting near by. I went up to the end of the bridge and came back. As i was coming back a Brahminy kite was coming down and the flock of the Gulls moved a little bit. The gull with the black legs woke up from sleep and i was able to take pictures. It was little smaller in size than the other Gulls with a very pronounced black legs. I haven’t seen a Gull like this before. I thought it may be a black headed Gull. As i have to reach my house by 3.30 pm i hurried back.. After reaching my house wife asked whether i got anything special. I replied that nothing is there. I downloaded the pictures and i was satisfied that i got some good pictures of this bird. I send one picture to Adhithyan NK . When the reply came i was really surprised to know it was Black legged kittiwake, a very rare visitor to kerala.

I posted the pictures in Malappuram Bird Atlas Group and Kole Birders. Manoj Karingamadathil looked at the ebird data and other resources, told me this is the third report from kerala, the first two being from Chavakkad in 2013. I am really happy to start an year with a rare bird from kerala [ebird checklist]. I thank Adithyan  because he helped me a lot in identifying birds. I also thank my friends and other members of Malappuram Bird Atlas Group, Kole Birders and friends in various birding groups who supported me in many ways in this venture. thank you all.

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