Kumlien’s Gulls can appear early

23rd September 2013 on the Isle of Man

Recent correspondence sent from John (dad) and Adam (son ) Peet on the Isle of Man about a tricky gull early in the autumn last year.

Apparently birders were still trying to get a definitive verdict on whether it was a Kumlien’s Gull or not.

2cy Kumlien's Gull, Isle of Man, 23rd September 2013, Adam Peet

2cy Kumlien’s Gull, Isle of Man, 23rd September 2013, Adam Peet


John also sent  a link to very instructive photos taken by Chris W. HERE

2cy Kumlien’s Gull, Isle of Man, 23rd September 2013, Adam Peet


Well I think its one of those (fortunately) straight forward Kumlien’s Gulls and it’s moulting from 1st summer to 2nd winter plumage- or if you prefer it’s a 2cy bird in September in full wing, tail and body moult. I checked with BF team member and gull guru, Chris Gibbins who also thought I was a straightforward Kumlien’s’. WHY? Structurally looks great for Kumlien’s/ Iceland.  7 full-grown new primaries, p8 part grown and still to grow in p9 and p10. The outer 3 visible (p6, 7 and 8) all have dark smudge at feather tips with a kind of pale mirror- a spot-on pattern 2nd winter Kumlien’s’ character. Furthermore p7 and 8 have outer web obviously darker than inner web. Fab broad and very obvious dark, plain tail band completes the ID as Kumlien’s Gull.

Why September?

When I lived in N. Ireland it wasn’t unusual to see the odd Glaucous or Iceland which arrived the previous winter and stayed on over summer. That for me would be the most likely explanation for the birds’ appearance at this time of year, though there could be others of course.



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