Sunday 12 October 2014

The Mystery Unravels

During my trip to Portugal in 2013 I visited the Portimao Fishing Harbour where I found a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull with a yellow colour ring and the code M+C. Initially I thought it might be a young Herring Gull due to the pattern of the greater coverts and the notched tertials. It appeared more like a small Herring Gull as well when compared with other obvious juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the time.

M+C, September 2013

I reported it to the Peter Rock, who fitted the ring, and he told me that the measurements at the time of ringing suggested Lesser Black-backed Gull as the most likely species. However, he said that it could either be a HG or possibly a hybrid.

M+C continued to winter at Portimao and stayed for the summer too. Nelson Fonseca wrote about it in his blog Gulls of Algarve and he too wondered if it was either a Herring Gull or a hybrid HG x LBBG. Eventually he commented that he thought it was just a pale LBB Gull.

Role the clock forward to September 2014 and I re-found it in almost the same place. It is now looking more like an immature LBB Gull and rather less like a Herring Gull.

M+C, September 2014
M+C, September 2014

Hopefully M+C will continue to pose for the camera until it is fully mature. Perhaps it never leaves the Portimao Fishing Harbour?

It is great to be able to see an individual gull as it matures.

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