Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A sunny day!

Although still completely bogged down by paperwork and other various commitments did manage to get out in the sun for a couple of hours. Thought would try and improve on my Ring-billed photos. Perhaps some flight shots. The only problem was it didnt want to fly, even when bread was on offer.

There were a couple of Common Gulls around that did take to the air so had to settle for those.

When this bird came in with its odd looking tail pattern for a second I thought it was the Ring-billed so rather than studying it just took a few shots. It wasnt the Ring-billed but a Common Gull with unusually extensive black in the outer tail feathers. It also still had a load of juvenile scapulars which should have been moulted long ago.

Relocated it to get some more pics.

Looking at the literature later there are various options. It could come from a far north canus late breeding population, it could be a more eastern heinei, or it could just be just a more southerly canus with retarded moult. Features that suit heinei without being diagnostic are long winged appearance, retarted moult in February, heavy markings on hind neck, breast and flanks, bold chevrons on upper and undertail coverts, barring on outer tail feathers.
Another apparent feature is that on the folded wing P5 extends noticably beyond the tertials, on this bird it can be seen but doesnt extend that far and apparently this can also occur in some canus
(James has since pointed out that this could infact be P4 protruding and therefore P5 does actually extend some way past the tertials)

Things that dont fit is the bill which is supposed to be heavier and more parallel edged and the underwing is less marked which I didnt get photos of but I dont remember them being much different.

On way back had a quick look in at Baiter where this Pale-bellied Brent was showing well