The hills around the city must have had their first dusting of snow this morning as I headed off gulling in Osaka, and I didn't even notice. Osaka was having a clean air day because the first inkling our first snows had arrived was seeing white caps on the usually obscured mountains of Hyogo to the west and Nara to the east.
There were very few gulls present, numbers on the Yamatogawa are always unpredictable, and the only birds of real interests were a possible Glaucous x Slaty-backed hybrid and an almost dark-eyed sub-adult Slaty-back. If there aren't gulls there isn't much chance of seeing anything apart from a few common dabbling ducks, the odd heron and White Wagtails, or if you're lucky a Peregrine coming down to bathe. If you're unlucky, the Peregrine will stick around and everything else is likely to leave. Today the non-gull highlight was a group of three Buff-bellied Pipits flying over... as if there'd even been a gull highlight.
I stopped off at Suminoe Park in the morning to have another look at the Baer's and see if the head was any greener since my last visit three weeks ago. It has sharpened up nicely, whereas last time there were brownish patches (which might have suggested this wasn't a pure Baer's) and just a hint of green gloss as the sun caught it, this time the whole head was obviously green and those areas of brown had disappeared.
If anyone's hoping for a Baer's for Christmas, I suggest you get your note up the chimney right now because Santa only seems to have one left!
Below are just a few of a huge number of shots I got before heading down to the river to freeze my bum waiting for gulls to come in.