The 1st-winter was a cracker - these really have to be seen to appreciate how smart looking they are - flying rats they are not! The photo below demonstrates the four colour scheme that makes them look so smart.
|First-winter Caspian Gull|
|Adult Caspian Gull|
The first two images are video grabs because they were distant, but it shows you can still get reasonable images.
I appear to be seeing two types of Caspian Gull, the text book elegant, small headed and long winged version and other more robust, shorter winged and less obviously small headed ones. My recent review resulted in me rejecting one that I now consider a Herring Gull x Caspian Gull, but others still meet the standard for Caspian Gull. Chris Gibbins has pictures on his blog of Caspian Gulls from the Ukraine that appear larger headed and shorter winged. Other images of gulls he photographed further to the east look more elegant. Whether it is a geographical variation or is there some Herring Gull genes in these western birds I'm not sure. One thing I do know is that Caspian Gulls are fully absorbing.
The third-winter below is a striking individual especially as it stood between a pack of scruffy looking Herring Gulls. Its bill colour is good for Caspian Gull, as are its long legs and its plumage. The white mirror on P10 at this age is also a good feature. However, its eyes are quite pale, its head and bill shape are wrong and its wings are shorter than the other three Caspain Gulls I saw this weekend. This one is a Herring x Caspian hybrid as far as I can determine
|Third-winter Hybrid Caspian x Herring Gull?|
I saw another third-winter and that one was a classic. It flew off before I could photograph it, but I did get chance to share it with a couple of budding gull enthusiasts.
Comments are welcomed especially on the third-winter in the photo above.