An adult on Texel
Thought I would flag this up before the forthcoming gull days– One to be looking for.
One of the fun birds to find with the guys on Texel was this adult Russian Common Gull ssp. heinei. Info on identification on these is bit uncertain so this is a little peak at a work-in-progress. I have been looking at the subject for a while, more recently very encouraged to be working with Chris Gibbins and his fresh insights.
This bird, in a frozen harbour on Texel ticks ALL the boxes for ID as adult heinei. I think it is one!
It’s the bird middle at the back. Compare upperpart tone with adult argentatus Herring on near left. Some heinei are almost/ virtually the tone of graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gulls. (Kodak Grey Scale: heinei Common = 6-8, graellsii LBB = 8-10(11).)
I saw several darker Common Gulls on Texel (adult and 2nd winters), just not all as well as this bird. There are no ‘sight records’ for heinei in Netherlands, only trapped birds as far as I know. Same in U.K. Shame.
Lots of good heinei info in the primaries- broad black michahellis band on p5, combined with almost wholly black p8 and little dark marks on p4. A bit technical but that seems to be a winning combination.
This bird was trapped in the Netherlands, also in February 2012 by VRS Meijendel (the name of the ringing group). Vincent van der Spek got in touch and kindly sent images. It had a wing length of 394mm – a heinei on wing length (max wing in canus 390mm). Notice similar themes in primary pattern to bird above.
P.S. Don’t write if you find a Common Gull with black band on p5- some nominate canus have the feature although it’s often broken and not as broad. Let me know though if you see one with all these characters.