Saturday, 5 January 2013

What a Gull-mare!!

Interesting last couple of days looking at Gulls in particular. Went to Richmond bank and a gull stood out with a yellow darvic labelled H8J8. After confusing its identity of what I thought was a 1st Winter Lesser black backed Gull, it appears to be a 1st winter GBBG x YLG hybrid - yellow h8j8 (Right leg) ringed as chick in frankfurt in 2012. Also seen at Silverdale CP on 7/12/12 and 21/11/12 and now recorded on Richmond Bank on 3/01/13! Who'd have thought?! Amazing!
When speaking to Zac H, he was only aware of yellow darvic ringing with YLG's so after he said that, looking at it. You'd happily take YLG as its i.d but after finding out its a German hybrid! Couldn't have predicted that!
The next Gull is a white-winger and has caused quite a stir already with mixed opinions across the net. Although the bird was quite a distance, at the moment, I think the feeling is that it is a Glaucous Gull. It appears to have a strong, horizontal bill, a small eye and a chunky, bulky build about it which tends to lean towards a Glauc. It is more brown than you'd expect an Iceland to be and has a 'hard' look about it! In flight, it looked heavy and the thoughts are that it could be a female.
 And then on to one, which I believe is a Yellow Legged Gull. I have had some critism to say otherwise, but surely they're not all hybrids!!!! A couple of people have pointed out that it looks more like a LBB x Herring hybrid (or just a pale LBB) which stumped me really as I've seen YLG's abroad with the same shade of grey. I think they're thinking more structually and features such short primary projection and the large white mirrors on the primary tips appear to rule out a pale graellsii, while the head streaking is an additional factor that rules out michahellis.
An adult bird with strong yellow legs, the only thing that does worry me is it has a little more brown streaking on the head, but surely, like Herring gulls, this must vary too?!
A comparison shot here with the Yellow Legged Gull below the Gt Black Backed Gull on the left and a Lesser Black Backed Gull below the YLG and right. Consideribly lighter than the LBB.
Youtube seems to have taken a lot of the hue out of the gull here(legs for example), but still worth a look:
If anyone else has any suggestions, please let me know your opinions.
Other than that, I had a great day starting at Moore NR, whereby I has lovely views of a redhead Smew. It showed well on Birchwood Pool.


  1. Cracking stuff Alex. This is why gulls are interesting.
    After properly looking at the White winger I would also go for a small glaucous although at quick glance it is very Iceland like. Bill pattern more glaucous even though it appears small.
    I would have definitely called the other a yellow legged gull despite the slight head streaking. Mantle is slightly dark but this could be due to the light. All gulls are very variable in size, bill shape and colouration.
    Not got a clue on the hybrid.

    1. Thanks for that Kev! Interesting stuff!

  2. Great read Alex and just for your info it was me you where chating too in the cafe at conwy rspb today , did you manage to get the Bittern in the end?