Saturday 24 January 2015

Herring Gull Showing Some Characters of Thayer's Gull

Last thing this afternoon I took a look at Cotesbach landfill site from Gibbet Lane. The Glaucous Gull that I first saw last Tuesday was loafing around there and amongst the gulls I spotted a young gull, which grabbed my attention. It was a juvenile/first-winter type and it had very pale underwings. Compared to the other first-winter Herring Gulls nearby it looked paler and more juvenile like. The light was dreadful at this point, but I did manage to take a few photos, but it was distant and I needed to crank up the ISO setting on my camera up to 1600.

The outer primaries appear to be very similar to what is expected of a Thayer's Gull in juvenile plumage - dark outer webs contrasting with paler inner webs. On the closed wing the primaries looked to be striped created by the pale inner and dark outer web.

A Very Immature Herring Gull - With an Interesting Primary Pattern

The underwing was pale and both Steve Nichols and I commented that the primaries on the underwing looked very pale.

The uppertail was pale, which is not a feature of Thayeri and to me the jizz of the bird was wrong, the legs were too long and I would have expected them to be pinker. The head and bill shape is typical of a young Herring Gull. As well as this young Herring Gull, I saw another at the lagoons that was in full juvenile plumage.

A Very Immature Herring Gull - With an Interesting Primary Pattern


  1. Interesting bird Carl, but I would have thought it should look more like an Iceland Gull to be a Thayer's type? A possible was reported at Chasewater tonight as well!

  2. Hi Dave,

    Yes, that's why I said 'Herring Gull Showing Characters of Thayer's Gull'. I wasn't trying to claim it was a Thayer's just highlighting an unusual gull. It is very immature looking and has an unusual wing pattern for a Herring Gull.