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Ageing a Herring Gull

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  • Ageing a Herring Gull

    Not sure this is advanced so apologies if not. I am still learning how to age the large white-headed gulls and I thought perhaps this was an interesting one.

    I think it is a 2nd winter (3rd cy) Herring Gull. However, having consulted books and Steve Arlow's amazing website, i don't think this bird is typical. It struck me as being very pale all over, reminiscent of GBB Gull and, apart from the primaries, all wing feathers and mantle/scapulars are heavily barred.

    Now you can all tell me it's a normal Herring Gull!!
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    Last edited by Bonsaibirder; March 4th, 2012, 01:39 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Steve,

    Looks fairly standard for a 3cy Herring Gull to me, it's only when you really grill them that you start to uncover the vast amount of individual variations, good fun though



    • #3
      Originally posted by Barry65 View Post
      Looks fairly standard for a 3cy Herring Gull to me
      Thanks Barry - as I predicted - at least I got the age and species correct. After years of birding and generally ignoring Herring Gulls, I have a lot to catch up on.


      • #4
        Hi Steve.

        As said by Barry itīs a 3cy Herring. (very variable species!). For a Herring that resembles a first winter (2cy by now) there are a few signs to go on.
        1. The tertials are not more or less plain coloured as on a 2cy but pale and barred as on your bird, which makes them 2nd generation.
        2. The primaries have rounded tips with a fresch white tip. On a 2cy (by now) the primaries would be of 1st generation (juvenil) and with more or less pointed tips.
        3. All the rest of the plumage - coverts, exept the scapulars, which are 3rd generation, are 2nd generation

        This is a good site to look into:



        • #5
          Hi Jan,
          Thanks for those pointers.
          Does this bird have less grey on the mantle that you might expect in March? Is the pale base to the bill also a pointer to 3cy? I have looked at the gull research site a few times and will try again - it can be quite bewildering!
          Last edited by Bonsaibirder; March 4th, 2012, 03:29 PM. Reason: spelling