Seaton Common, January 2012
n.b. the videos below are quiet acceptable on full screen mode, if you like that sort of thing (click little square brackets on bottom right corner when you ‘play’)
Gull Masterclass on 21st Jan- bit more challenging, chiefly due to winds and sometimes bright sunshine. Still excellent company from appreciative groups of guys. Early Iceland Gull, couple Mediterranean Gulls, a leucistic Herring (looking Glaucous-like at long range), lots northern argentatus Herring Gulls (inc. nice juveniles), 1st winter Lesser Black-backs (none on the last 2 events) and hopefully lots of learning.
Non-gulls were good value. Ad. male Ring-necked Duck at Cowpen, and especially the White-fronted Goose flock at Seaton Common was close. The 1st winter Greenland White-front put on great show and we picked out a 1st winter European White-fronted Goose with what looked like a basal half of the bill orange– another one! Seems orangeness may be part of the ‘plasticity’ of bill colours of young White-fronted Geese generally.
1st European White-front (back, head down), adult European White-front (middle) and 1st winter Greenland White-front (front). Seaton Common, 21.1.12. Shows differences in bill colour, bill shape and amount of black on nail of 1st winters (and what messy eaters they are!)
Video shows nice comparison in head/ bill shape and especially differences in tail pattern which were very obvious in the field.
Orangey-billed European White-front
Should it be Russian or European White-front for albifrons? Didn’t notice this one before. Another 1st winter European/ Russian with some of the bill orangey. Colour is most concentrated on base of the culmen so very obvious when bird is head on:
The video starts with this orangey- billed European White-front. The 1st winter Greenlander is just to the right and eventually comes into full view (both first winters side-by-side). The European bird has more advanced moult (2nd generation scapulars but juvenile coverts) whereas the Greenlander has mostly juvenile scaps and body feathers still. You can see differences in tail patterns again and other differences in plumage. Then I followed the European bird and orangey bill colour shows up better at end of clip.
“A brilliant and useful day [18th Jan]. For the price of a good book I learnt more than hundreds of pounds worth of books could teach me.”