Category Archives: b) Small Gulls

Ivory Gull in Varanger

I Never Dreamed…

Ooo… just missed turing up for the 2015 Gullfest. Still must a bit heart soul and body warming encounter for Simon Colenutt and Trevor Codlin in Vardo harbour  who found this adult Ivory Gull at the start of this week (22nd March 2015). Read  Biotope’s account of the Ivory Gull at Vardo,

Simon writes: ‘What a cracking bird! I never dreamed of finding Ivory Gull!”

Read more of Simon and Trevor’s visit at ‘The Deskboundbirder’

Check out that head shot!

Ivory oneb (1 of 1)Ivory one (1 of 1)Ivory onec (1 of 1)Ivory onea (1 of 1)

 

Russian Common Gull – heinei

An adult on Texel

This is a reblog of a bird on telex which remains a convincing adult heinei from 3 years ago which I watched and photographed on Texel, Netherlands with Nils van Duivendijk. Dawn Balmer tweeted about a dark looking bird seen in last day or two in UK. Here’s the right upperwing pattern Dawn 🙂

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!

ad common gull henei Texel 12.2.12 c

It’s the bird in the middle at the back. Compare upperpart tone with adult argentatus Herring on Gull on the 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), though 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 the U.K. Shame.

ad common gull texel henei 12.2.12 dCloser view- check out the iris colour and interestingly the considerable protrusion of black-banded p5 beyond tertials. It looked long-winged on the deck with quite bright legs and bill.

ad Common Gull henei  Texel 12.2.12 dad Common Gull henei  Texel 12.2.12 fad Common Gull henei  Texel 12.2.12 g

Lots of good heinei info in the primaries- broad black ‘michahellis’ band on p5, combined with mostly black p8  or at least black (nearly) up to primary coverts on outer web of p8 and little dark marks on p4. A bit technical but that seems to be a winning combination.ad Common Gull henei  Texel 12.2.12 b

ad Common Gull henei  Texel 12.2.12

paler iris, very dark upperparts and 3 points in wing tip pattern

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.

russische-stormmeeuw-04022012-nr-4

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.

Kamchatka Gull at St. John’s, Newfoundland

Stormer!

Alvan Buckley found this bird at St. John’s 4 days ago (September 16th 2014) and emailed the next day. Apologies for not getting it up earlier ( of living at Flamborough!). This bird looks right on the money  for the East Asian Kamchatka Gull. Here’s Alvan’s description: IMG_5566

Remarkably, it was standing right next to an adult Yellow-legged Gull (see last photo).
The mantle colour was very similar, if not the same as the YLGU.
Bill was notably thinner without any obvious markings or widening near the end (almost Mew Gull like).
Eye was dark!
Leg colour was definitely more yellow than the YLGU. In fact I would say that the YLGU legs were more orange in colour.
Legs were short and thin, could barely see above the tarsus.
Head streaking was slightly more dense on top of the head, but was present along the neck too and the streaking was generally smudgy in appearance.
Body was noticeably slimmer and smaller than the YLGU and HERGs.
From the in flight shots it appears that p9 and p10 are missing/growing in – so it is advanced in its primary molt for an adult at this time of year. New P8 is part grown.
and my response:
Hi Alvan
 
sorry for slow response- very busy as just moved house and lots migration going on outside!
 
This look remarkable and looks pretty much spot on for a Kamchatka Gull (as you hinted)- no problem with size- you get big ones. The dark iris was little disconcerting as they often have paler iris but think its ok.
 
I checked with top gull man Chris Gibbins and his reaction was exactly the same- look great for Kamchatka Gull.
 
Cheers Martin
More on Alvan’s Blog: Birding with Buckley

IMG_5572 IMG_5580IMG_5622 IMG_5620 IMG_5619IMG_5569

Seawatching Joys

Flamborough in mid-July

It’s just a personal thing. I have very much been enjoying some recent mornings sitting and watching the passing seabirds off Flamborough. No big rarities, nor great spectacles. Just the joy of sitting (able to sit much longer as my health improves), often with my friend Brett Richards and watching. I enjoy the close and the far away. All kinds of learning and testing opportunities, and the beauty of staring out at wild seas and a big wide open space.

Outer head with east end of Flamborough head to the left end of the picture. Thanks for photo to Mick Sherwin

Outer head with east end of Flamborough head to the left end of the picture. Thanks for photo to Mick Sherwin

Here some shots of birds all taken from the seawatch spot over a couple of days. We did see a Pomarine Skua and some beautiful Arctic Terns, unfortunately a little too far to get a worthwhile photo. This is just the autumn warm-up act.

The Seawatch Spot:

Here's where we sit- the little arc below the front end of the Fog Station- part way down the cliff- can you see it? Hopefully some joy-filled moments yet to be had here in the coming days. Photo: Mick Sherwin

Here’s where we sit- the little arc below the front end of the Fog Station- part way down the cliff- can you see it? Hopefully some joy-filled moments yet to be had here in the coming days. Photo: Mick Sherwin

The captions explain a little more:

Inspired on the first seawatch of last week when this ad male Velvet Scoter landed in front of us. Photo by Brett Richards

Inspired on the first seawatch of last week when this ad male Velvet Scoter landed in front of us. Photo by Brett Richards

 

a  mix of seabirds to test skills

a mix of seabirds to test skills

Manx Shearwaters - sometimes up to several hundred can pass in a morning

Manx Shearwaters – sometimes up to several hundred can pass in a morning

 

good chance to improve skills on Guillemot and Razorbill flight ID. Can you ID the 3 on the right?

good chance to improve skills on Guillemot and Razorbill flight ID. Can you ID the 3 on the right?

some come nice and close

some come nice and close

and Puffins breed on the cliffs below

and Puffins breed on the cliffs below

Fulmars pass close with 2 Blue Fulmar in the last week

Fulmars pass close with 2 Blue Fulmar in the last week

Scoters are the commonest wildfowl right now, with occasional Eider like these 3 drakes

Scoters are the commonest wildfowl right now, with occasional Eider like these 3 drakes

gull variety can be excellent- 2nd summer?? Common Gull

gull variety can be excellent- 2nd summer?? Common Gull

and practice on in flight Cormorant ID. This one's a carbo- Atlantic Cormorant

and practice on in flight Cormorant ID. This one’s a carbo- Atlantic Cormorant

These are sinensis- Continental Cormorants- much championed locally by Brett R.

These are sinensis- Continental Cormorants- much championed locally by Brett R.

Plus the passing Shags

Plus the passing Shags

Skuas are just starting to appear- we had a fine 3cy Pomarine Skua. I think this plain winged Bonxie (Great Skua) might be a 1cy (first summer)

Skuas are just starting to appear- we had a fine 3cy Pomarine Skua. I think this plain winged Bonxie (Great Skua) might be a 1cy (first summer)

Waders are also increasingly present and passing like these Oystercatcher

Waders are also increasingly present and passing like these Oystercatcher

 

so a gull to end- what age and species is this one? :)

so a gull to end- what age and species is this one? 🙂

 

James Clark Ross and His Gull

 

Celebration of Beauty

A beautiful gull? Some may say there is no such thing. These images perhaps suggest otherwise. One a first winter bird, big treat any-day as they hard t o see and photograph. This first winter reached all the way to Espagne!

and the pink adult in Cork

With grateful thanks to Juan Sagardia (Lanzarote Pelagics) and Harry Hussy. Have a great weekend.

Gaviota-de-ross-017adult winter Ross's Gull 20th Feb 2014_HH_1aadult winter Ross's Gull 20th Feb 2014_HH_2aadult winter Ross's Gull 20th Feb 2014_HH_3aGaviota-de-ross-juvenil-2Gaviota-de-Ross-juvenil-9Gaviota-de-ross-juvenil-14n

Gaviota-de-ross-juvenil-5

Common Gull hybrid

X Mediterranean Gull ?

by Martin G and Nigel Lound

Nigel writes:

“The attached gull was on the beach on 30th July 2012 in the evening between Skegness and Gibraltar Point. Surely has to be a Common/Mediterranean Gull hybrid? There seems to be little info anywhere (books or internet) on such hybrids and the little info I have gleaned on such hybrids always refer to “bill similar to Med Gull, dull red with black subterminal ring and yellow tip”. This is  nothing like the Common Gull bill and legs shown by this bird. I didn’t manage any flight shots. It was a bit of a loner, only loosely associating with Common Gulls and Sandwich Tern, spending much time asleep. Whatever, it is a stunning looking gull.”

It would be interesting to know if and how the sex of the parents (e.g. was the presumed Common Gull parent, male or female) affects the appearance of a bird like this.

presumed hybrid on left with Black-headed Gulls in background and Common Gull in (right) foreground.

presumed hybrid Common Gull X Mediterranean Gull, N. of Gibraltar Pt, Lincolnshire, 30th July 2012 by Nigel Lound