Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Three Caspian Gull Lunch Break

I was happy with three in a day at the weekend, but three in my lunch break today is even more impressive (Paul I did ask them to fly south towards Guernsey, but I'm not sure if they were listening).

The first one was none other than Polish colour ringed PADZ, last seen back in August. Another adult, which I'm fairly sure is one of the ones present last weekend, was preening on the same bit of shoreline. If that wasn't enough I spotted what is most likely a fourth-winter on the water. All too soon I had to continue on my journey to Northampton, but it had been a good dinner break. I was hoping to read two new colour rings, as I'm just two short of 400 different colour ringed gulls at the site, but alas you'll have to wait for that gripping story for a little while.

Adult Caspian Gull

The adult above was very obliging as it lifted its wings and showed off its new P10 (longest primary feather). This nicely demonstrates one of the important features your looking for when trying to get a positive ID on an adult.

Fourth-winter or Adult Caspian Gull

The one above was the third of the day and is possibly not a full adult. The dark markings on the bill are heavier than on typical adults, which suggests it is a fourth-winter. 

It might be a bit repetitive talking about all these Caspian Gulls, but as well as writing these reports for anyone interested in gulls, I also find it a great way to keep a personal diary. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull with Very Dark Eyes

I have seen the occasional Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) in Britain that appeared to have dark eyes, but the views were often distant, so I may have been mistaken. In Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America it states that in adults the eyes are rarely dark brown or darker. The gull below, that I saw in Portugal, is not quite fully adult, but it clearly has very dark eyes that are not likely to alter significantly as it reaches full adulthood.

Dark Eyed Yellow-legged Gull

Monday, 20 October 2014

Caspian Gull Influx?

I'm not sure if there's been a noticeable influx of Caspian Gulls at other sites, but I've certainly had my fair share at Shawell A5 Lagoons this weekend.  After seeing three yesterday I popped back this afternoon and found another trying to hide amongst some adult Herring Gulls. I have aged it as a third-winter due to it being too advanced in its journey towards adulthood for it to be a second-winter. That said, it hasn't replaced all of its tertials and coverts with adult like feathers, so it might be a very advanced second-winter.

Third-winter Caspian Gull

Sunday, 19 October 2014

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull at Shawell A5 Lagoons

Since arriving back from Portugal, I have been delighted to find a few smart looking (that's perhaps a matter of opinion) first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls at Shawell. The one in the image below shows all the standard features: Large and robust, with fairly short legs; grey mantle and scapulars that contrast with the mainly brown coverts; tertials that are pale edged and darker than the coverts and an all black chunky bill. The anchor markings on the scapulars are slightly paler than some I've seen, but this is still a classic individual.

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons, October 2014

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Three Caspian Gull Day at Shawell

The second-winter Caspian Gull with the green colour-ring was back at Shawell A5 lagoons today and once again it was snoozing on the bank between the lagoons. I suggested to Steve Nichols that it was most probably the same gull that we had seen the previous weekend and when it stood up I was pleased to see the colour-ring. We were able to confirm the ring read XNDJ, so it was the same gull. It has injured its right leg and it walks with a slight limp.

Second-winter Yellow-legged Gull - XNDJ