First winter Kumlien’s Gulls

nr. Thurso, Caithness

Chris Griffin has been in touch. he’s up near Thurso in Caithness (northernmost Scotland) and has seemingly not one, but TWO 1st winter Kumlien’s Gulls. Clearly there are a few about this winter,so here are his photos, taken today. Plus a bullet point summary of key features helpful in identifying first winter Kumlien’s Gulls.

Bird One

apparent 2cy Kumlien's Gull, scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th Janury 2014 by Chris Griffin. Check out the obvious moult on the upper scapulars and mantle feathers (plain and grey)

apparent 2cy Kumlien’s Gull, Scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th January 2014 by Chris Griffin. Check out the obvious moult on the upper scapulars and mantle feathers (plain and grey) and the lovely plain brown wash over the primaries with pale fringe.

Bird Two

apparent 2cy Kumlien's Gull, scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th Janury 2014 by Chris Griffin.

2cy Kumlien’s Gull, scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th Janury 2014 by Chris Griffin. Looks pretty convincing in flight alone- especially the primary pattern on the far wing. The tail pattern is a relatively plain brown wash  subterminally on each feather forming a broad band..

 

apparent 2cy Kumlien's Gull, scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th Janury 2014 by Chris Griffin.

2cy Kumlien’s Gull, Scrabster Harbour nr. Thurso, Caithness, 20th Janury 2014 by Chris Griffin. Same individual as in flight shot above.

 Key Features of juvenile/ 1st winter Kumlien’s Gulls

  • outer primary pattern of an identifiable vagrant first-winter kumlieni is of a variable brown wash centred on the primary shaft, spreading onto both webs and extending almost to the feather tips. It is most commonly plain, not ‘mealy’ or spotted, although many show a small subapical mark.

Other tendencies

  • an earlier moult for some mantle and upper scapular feathers (sometimes from Oct/Nov)
  • a darker bill in mid-winter,
  • a more distinct [plain] tail band
  • more contrast between the outer (darker) and inner (paler) primaries in flight on the more distinct individuals

 

 

 

 

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