Wednesday, 15 February 2012

more Herring Gulls

Andrew's below post shows one of the most gorgeous, textbook Larus Argentatus Argentatus you will ever see! and it reminded me of some old photos I took on the local patch. Back then my interest in gulls was fairly minimal but I still thought this looked good for Scandinavian Herring Gull. I never submitted a description (which is required in Sussex) but kept the photos. All photos taken on 30 December 2010 at Cuckmere Haven.

(Argentatus Herring Gull - © Liam Curson)

Note the heavy bill, 'evil'- looking eye and robust, bulky structure. It's not as obvious an Argentatus as Andrew's bird, appearing slightly smaller in build, and is perhaps a female. The mirrors are also smaller than you'd want on a really classic bird. The extensive black on the wing-tip is an off-putting feature in saying this is a definite Scandinavian bird, the black reaching slightly further up the wing than on Andrew's fairly classic Argentatus. I'd call the black reaching up the wingtip intermediate between an Argentatus and an Argenteus, but it has the jizz of an Argentatus, and certainly rather brutish and Glaucous Gull-like in the field. I'd therefore call this bird a small Scandinavian Herring Gull.

(Argenteus Herring Gull - © Liam Curson)
The light is bad, but if you compare the mantle colour of this Argenteus with the bird above it is noticeably paler. The primaries can't be seen here to compare them both sadly, but although this bird also has a sharp eye and heavy bill, it isn't quite as brutish or 'evil' looking. This is also partly enhanced by a pale head, which quite a lot of resident Argenteus seem to retain through the winter in my area. Perhaps it's because they stay on their rooftop nesting sites year-round? 

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