Sunday, 8 January 2012

Glaucous Gull at Pontllyfni (part of the North Wales white-winged gull fest) 7-1-12

Posted by PicasaI came across this individual whilst looking for Reg Thorpe’s adult Iceland gull at the mouth of the Afon Llyfni. Unfortunately, the adult Iceland gull had flown south prior to my arrival.

The Glaucous gull appears to be a second winter individual (that’s in old money!) – any comments on age will be gratefully received. Large numbers of gulls were present north of the river mouth. Rhys and Morgan Jones later arrived and concurred on the bird’s age. The news even lured Reg Thorpe out. Reg managed to find another Iceland Gull upon his arrival (a juvenile in new money!)



  1. Great find Simon - a truly cracking bird!

    I was really taken by how pale this individual is. I've only seen small numbers of 1w Glaucs but they've all been coffee coloured.

    This bird recals the big pale race pallidissimus from E.Siberia/Bering Sea. Have a look at the photo of the juv/1w on p197 of Malling Olsen & Larsson - it looks identical!

    Apparently the sub-species intergrade (like most gulls) but the question I have for everyone is - what percentage of the 1w that you've seen are as Persil white as this?

    Difficult to be sure but the eye appears all dark Iindicative of 1w) and plumage less messy than 2w. Would be good to have another look at this beast a bit closer to check it over.

    Good Birding


  2. Interesting stuff andrew. Perhaps one to ask Martin Garner on Wednesday evening?
    When I fist saw the photo on the back of my iphne I thought 2nd winter, however on the big screen the bird seems to have the dark eye of a 1w. It does seem pretty blotchy in the above photo, but in Rhys's it looks a very tidy pale plumage.
    Don't know enough about 'pallidissimus' and it would have come a very long way if one did reach our shores.
    Very tempted to come over and have a look if it hangs around.
    All good stuff!

  3. Hi Marc

    Yes, it would be good to get some more feedback from more experienced observers. Certainly need to do some homework on this species.

    I've seen the odd photo of very pale 'immature' Glaucs in the past but was just flagging this bird as unusually so.

    I'm not definitely suggesting it has come all that way but as mentioned there is a fair bit of intergrading between the different subspecies. Considering the weather we have had (relentless W/NW) and the number of Kumlien's amongst the Icelands & Glaucous I am very intrigued as to it's origin.

    More comments (and/or additional photos) would be good

    Good Birding