Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Clues in the Name

Azorean 'type' Yellow-legged Gull
I finished work early so that I could get to Rutland Water in time to have a chance of seeing the Azorean Yellow-legged Gull that had been visiting Lagoon 4. Matthew Berriman picked it up around tea-time and helped everyone to find it. It was very distinctive and easy to locate even at a great distance.

The photo above shows the mantle colour to be mid-way between the standard type Yellow-legged Gull to the birds left and the Lesser Black-backed Gull behind and to the right. The head streaking is perhaps not as extensive as shown by some of the AYLG's photographed on the Azores, but it fits perfectly within the range described by a number of observers who have travelled there to see this sub species. What I could see of the primary pattern appeared to fit nicely with what I expected and I could see no reason to suspect it might be a hybrid.

A well known twitcher happened to be on site and he was trying to rubbish the bird. However, I'm not sure whether he realised he had entertained us all so much with his dismissive attitude to the fact it had YELLOW LEGS - the clues in the name! Having never travelled to the Azores my experience of the sub species atlantis was restricted to reading and looking at pictures, but the Rutland Water bird appears to tick all the boxes to me.

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