Monday 31 March 2014

Second-winter Caspian Gulls

Over the weekend I visited Shawell twice. You may already have read my previous posting, so I won't go on about Sunday's adventures. A greater number of gulls were present at Shawell A5 lagoons on Saturday, the most numerous were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Amongst them were a few gems. A couple of third calendar year Caspian Gulls provided much of the entertainment and two Yellow-legged Gulls were also paying a visit.

The two Casps were slightly different, the one in the picture being slightly more advanced. The other one still had fine dark streaks to its mantle feathers and they were a little more silvery grey. Strangely as often happens its bill was slightly more mature looking. Both birds had long stilt like legs and shared the typical bill profile of this species.

Third Calendar Year Caspian Gull
Third Calendar Year Caspian Gull

Third-calender Year Caspian Gull
Fourth Calender Year Yellow-legged Gull

A pale winged gull was there during the afternoon. The initial excitement was short lived as this bird wasn't quite right. Its primaries were pale brown and the pattern on the coverts wasn't quite right for any of the real white-wingers. I have considered leucistic Herring Gull or Great Black-backed Gull, hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull and maybe even a bit of Glaucous-winged Gull in the mix. The chaps at Draycote have seen it there and thought it was a leucistic Herring Gull, but structurally I didn't think it was quite right for a Herring Gull. It was pretty bulky with a large bill, but of course some Herring Gulls match those statistics - comments welcomed.

Mystery Gull

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