Before heading off to Melton Mowbray, I had to get my fix of big gulls at Shawell. I went to the landfill site, where over 400 gulls were gathered. Mostly Lesser Black-backs, but amongst them were two 1st winter/summer Caspian Gulls. One of them was a small female and she was a stunner. She showed all the text book features, which really stood out due to her dainty frame. What's more she put on a real show. The photo below shows just how pretty she was although the subtle 'pencil markings' on the nape are not so obvious as in the field or is the slenderness of the bill. The differences between 1st-summer Herring Gull and Caspian Gull are poles apart - there were plenty of the former to compare with. That said, it is much easier to separate Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls from Herring Gulls than it is to rule out the presence of any hybrid genes in individual birds.
Digiscoping her was difficult as it was very windy, but I did at least get one reasonable record shot. I previously questioned in my 'Challenging Gulls' posting the origin of these 2nd calendar-year birds at this time of year and I'm even more intrigued now.