Monday, 6 February 2012

1cy 'argentatus' Herring Gulls in Ceredigion - 1st documented record for county

Arfon Williams, Ceredigion birder has sent me these great pictures of two potential 1st calendar year 'argentatus' Herring Gulls he took at Nequay Headland Fish Factory, Ceredigion last week. Scandanavian Herring Gull has never been documented in the county before. The larger dark shows a number of good features - big dark bird, large two toned bill, juv featheing on scapulars and mantle, broad black tail band with white only on the very outer tail feather, extensive barred markings on rump and upper tail coverts (almost like smithsonianus) - good stuff.
The second, paler headed bird is a little more subtle, but it does have a good set of features. A few 1st winter feathers coming through on the scapulars but most still 'retarded-moult' juvenile scapular feathers. Good tail pattern and bill colouring too. I would be interested to hear the opinion of the expert 'gullers' out there on these birds.
You only have to go to the West Midlands or even into North West England to see these northern gulls on a regular basis and searching through our thousands of local 'argenteus' on the North wales coast have revealed that they do reach here in small numbers on a regular basis. 1st cy birds seem to be outnumbering adults at the moment, but over the next month or so we should start seeing some lovely 'grey' mantled adults moving through.

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