Martin Garner with photos by Martin Gottschling.
Old ‘cachinanns‘ sparring partner Detlef Gruber (wrote one of the first paper in German on Caspian Gulls) got in touch to discuss this potential heuglini. I had seen a couple of images the bird online but the images were too distant to make out details. However Martin Gottschling’s photos here show quite a bit. I haven’t seen the bird, so if you have and can fill in details, or correct my interpretation, please do so (scroll down).
Thee superb Gull research website introduces heuglini as follows:
In mid-winter, heuglini normally can be found along shores & on beaches, fish-markets and rubbish dumps in E Africa, the Middle East and further east to the coastline of Bombay. They often flock together with other species in winter. Heuglini, being a north Russian tundra breeder, can normally identified by the late moult process in winter.
Apparent adult Heuglin’s Gull, Braunschweig, Germany, 30th January 2014. all photos by Martin Gottschling.
3 Features are pro heuglini and together seem to make a strong case for the ID as that taxon
- Moult is not yet complete in flight feathers. It appears that p10 is old, p9 has been dropped (not visible) and rest of the 8 primaries are new and some secondaries are still growing
- There are 8 black marked primaries which would be unusual/remarkable in graellsii.
- The heavier streaking concentrated around the nape with ‘spotty’ appearance is typical of winter heuglini; streaking more evenly spread over the head on graellsii etc.
- Additional features of some (not this bird) include duller bare parts (even flesh coloured legs in adults) and dark speckling in iris
I have been looking for and trying to figure out heuglini for at least 25 years. Never seen a full-on candidate in the UK. This is just what I would want to find – please!
So on broad brush stroke view of heuglini ID this appears to have late moult, good streaking pattern and discriminating amount of black in primaries- so yes I like it!
Let us know what you think…