2 October 2013


As I alluded to in the September round up, we are still waiting for Yellow-legged Gull.  I mean by that a stonking in your-face adult bird, an easy one!: we've probably had a (young) Yellow-legged Gull, but as yet have failed to identify it.  So I determined to set that straight.  To my mind there had been one or two "candidates" over the last few weeks, but minds have been elsewhere on more interesting stuff. Yesterday I took some pictures of one such bird on the Jubilee.  The bird in question reminded me of a bird used as a subject in Gavin Haig's blog http://notquitescilly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-east-devon-gullwatchers-year-july_13.html, and once I'd processed them I was convinced.

Now knowing my track record on big larids I thought I'd give the team a chance to shoot me down, again! So I duly dispatched a few shots to Tim, Jono, Bob and Stuart, but this time added Mr Bradnum (pretty good with gulls). I eagerly awaited their confirmation. Tim, Jono and Stuart are well used to this kind of behaviour and take it in good humour, before delivering the negative response, however Mr Bradnum went about the task with a great deal of relish.

I would like to say there was a very Pro camp, but that would have just included me. Leaning towards YLG ever so slightly were Tim: "I would say head pattern (with mask), tertial pattern and all black bill combination favours jv/first winter yellow-legged"

Jono said: "I'm minded to agree, only concern I have is that it looks quite dainty"

DB said: "3 and 4 is more interesting, and I need to have another look this evening. You're not comparing apples with apples on Gavin's bird, since ylg should have moulted out of juv plumage into 1st winter (ie renewed mantle and scaps) by now... But even so, it might be one. Not convinced by the head shape and bill size, nor tertial pattern tho"

later adding "It's definitely in full juvenile plumage - they don't look like this for long. "

[It had been brought to my attention that I had overstepped the mark in publishing the contents of private e-mails and have removed their content. I had sought approval but when this was not forthcoming at the time of posting I wrongly went ahead anyway. No offence was meant and I apologise unreservedly for this.  I am not The Daily Mail and do not intend to offend any reader or potential reader]

So in conclusion juvenile/what ever-winter-summer-not-adults are slightly tricky.  I should have got a photograph as it undoubtedly flew off soon after being snapped, but I took some of this instead, because I had a bench to lean the camera on...

... which if you click on it bears my hurried naming system, so ignore that it's just a Herring Gull. After that I had reached my download limit on big larids so gave up.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and feel free to add your thoughts.  The bird wasn't around today, but there's always tomorrow.

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