Saturday, 4 February 2012

Gull at Kinmel Bay

Here is the gull Marc mentioned, many thanks to Etienne for being fast enough to capture these shots in the little time the bird was in view. Opinions welcome!

Alan and Ruth - updated with new pics today


  1. Hi there,
    I'm not sure if there's enough visible detail to be sure either way, but, from what I can see, a few features appear to be worrying for a Caspian:
    -the underside of P10 seems as though the feather doesn't have a complete white tip, nor can I see any pale tongue on the inner web, but the picture quality isn't great.
    -are the legs too yellow for a Caspian in early February?
    Nevertheless, the head reminds me of birds I saw in Uzbekistan, so-called "eastern cachinnans" (never seen adults or near-adults in western Europe), but can some odd Herring, a hybrid or even a slim-billed Yellow-legged be excluded from the available evidence? I wouldn't like to say, but I have doubts...hopefully better pics will be obtained.

    1. V.interesting bird and due reward for all gull scrutinisers... Y-L or Caspian?

      Hard to say with the distant pics - hope someone gets more, esp with other birds to evaluate leg length etc

  2. Cracking bird whatever it turns out to be. Gutted that I missed it by minutes this morning. When I saw it on the back of the camera this morning (I only saw the head on one), my feeling was that it wasn't quite right. However, one seeing the side on pictures this evening, it certainly starts Caspian bells ringing.
    I'm no gull expert but am enjoying looking at gulls at the moment. I have a mental picture of waht i would be looking for in Caspian and the stucture I see in this bird would be a great start to 'locking onto one'.
    However, to me the primaries look very black and the white tip to p10 seems lacking (but the picture has been taken at distance so may not show this). The legs seem very yellow for this time of year as does the bill, is this too early for Caspian to show this? The step of the tertials looks rather big in the head-on picture too, but better in the side on, however the black primaries running below the primaries looks a good Caspian feature.
    I'm looking forward to see how the discussion pans out and looking forward to getting down there first thing tomorrow!

  3. Be good to see some further shots if it turns up. I'd be reticent to call this a Caspian Gull based on these 2 images; probably a Yl Gull IMHO on the basis that it's long-winged, the vivid yellow legs and bill colour, the mantle shade and also the vast amount of black in the primaries. Assuming this is an adult, then the you'd be seeing a lot more white at the primary tips if it were a casp. These days, in London, all I seem to see are Yl Gulls and Casps, and I have never seen one of the latter that would approach this bird in leg colour. I reckon the parallel-sided, small bill could be explained by it being a female. Also, remember those 'yellow-legged' Herrings from the baltic too... that, infiltrated by argentatus genes as they are, could approach a bird like this in terms of mantle colour.
    Richard Bonser