mandag 6. februar 2017

2nd winter Yellow-legged gull?

This gull was at Øra 28th of january. It does not fit very well with the average argentatus herring gulls of the same age group up here (these are more like the individuals front left and directly behind the bird in question in the first photograph). In fact, it looks more like our herring gulls do when they are a year older. In the field, with bins only from the car, it was initially dismissed as "probably a bit retarded 3rd w herring gull", but the jizz was interesting and mich-like, so I started checking some details. It was soon evident that primaries, secondaries and tail feathers were 2nd generation (with the odd 3. gen) and then it became VERY interesting, so I quickly decided to take some pictures of it. It is a law of nature, of course, that the sight of a camera immediately makes everything fly in panic, so these pictures are all I have. So what is it? YLG? Argenteus HG? All E-mailed comments so far have been YLG but I am still awaiting some more comments from birders more familiar with the species at this time of year. Comments are appreciated, but alas, experience shows it is not to be expected...

Note clean white underparts, new adult-like completely grey mantle (a shade darker and less bluish than the accompanying HGs'), new, grey assorted coverts and tertials, very dark brown/black centred old tertials, straight back line and a "dominating" facial expression. Don't much like the leg colour, though.
On the far wing, the extent of wing covert moult can be seen, including a few lc, mc and gc. Note also darker inner primaries than the average HG, the light under wing and the reduced amount of markings to the body and undertail/undertailcoverts (compared to e.g the 2nd w herring gull in front of it).
Note almost all white inner 3/4 of undertail (emphasizing tail band) and white axillaries. (The 2nd w herring gull in the front left shows the typical inner wing of the species in this age group).

 Note special head shape with "bulge in front of the eye" and darker, less bluish grey back than HG.

 Almost all white rump and rather dark inner primaries. Single whiter feathers (3rd gen) can be seen among both rectrices and secondaries.

 Head and blunt tipped bill shape can be discerned, with a little good will...

torsdag 12. januar 2017

3cy Caspian gull Øra, 12th of january

This nice 3cy Caspian gull was present for a few minutes at Øra today. Unfortunately it was only seen inside a semi-open building for sorting waste, so all pictures were taken through dense netting. Inevitably, a bulldozer soon made it disappear..It is not very advanced to be a caspian gull with just a few median coverts and no tertials renewed. Many 3cy herring gulls are in a similar state of moult at this time of year.

mandag 9. januar 2017

Dark 2nd winter mystery gull

This strange gull was present for a few minutes at Øra, Fredrikstad on january the 7th. It has a very dark mantle and a striking jizz. Large body (comparable to GBBG), pot-bellied, appearing somewhat small-headed/short billed due to bulk of the body. It may of course turn out to be the "usual suspect" - herring gull in the dark end of the spectrum, but it really was something special. The heavy body and the dark mantle can even be reminiscent of certain 2nd winter Slaty-backed gulls (Larus schistisagus), but that would be to stretch it too far, I guess:-)
A hybrid, perhaps? Comments would be appreciated!