Sunday, 26 February 2012

gulling at Newhaven

among the gazillions of wires, adaptors and things on my floor at the moment, I can't find the one I need to download photos from my camera, so our dear readers will have to make do with me using one of our other photographers far better images (what a shame I hear you say!)

The bird myself and my Dad went to look for was an adult Iceland Gull, a new age for both of us in the UK. In the end we saw the adult fairly well, if distantly. However, my attention was more drawn to the swathes of Herring Gulls (I'm considering a labotomy for these unhealthy obsessions).

Among the first-winter gulls, there were at least five or six that were noticeably darker and larger- I'm thinking Argentatus for all of them. There was also one pretty hefty third-winter which I got some OK photos of; it had a big, hooked bill and mean, brutish look, and on jizz I'd call it Argentatus. Considering this species is description-worthy I wouldn't submit them.

Spring is also definitely approaching, most Black-headed Gulls seem to be well into their moult, and among the first-winter Herring Gulls were two that have started moulting their head-feathers and nothing else, giving them a marked smithsonianus look. The adult Herrings with pure white heads might have already moulted, but in Seaford I see a good number of birds that never acquire any head-streaking all through the winter, especially among birds that remain on their rooftop nests year-round.

(Herring Gull-© John Bridges)

A first-winter Herring Gull, but not one I'd personally want to try and identify. The presence of intergrades between Argenteus and Argentatus can make identifying some especially complicated, especially from a photo. On Johns website he does have a few that to me look like quite nice Argentatus adults though (including one used by Andrew in a post further down). 

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