Where I live in E Devon argentatus (ie. 'Scandinavian') Herring Gull is a rare bird. It is on the county 'A' list, requiring a full description. I've seen 2 adults locally - on the Axe estuary - in the 7+ years I've been birding here, both on the same day. We've had a few more than those two, but not many. It follows that we'll occasionally be getting younger birds too. My questions are these:
- Where argentatus is actually a rare bird, would a 1st-winter be unequivocally identifiable?
- What about a 2nd-winter?
- Does anyone know of an ID paper out there somewhere, addressing this very issue?
As I sift through the myriad argenteus HGs on the Axe estuary, hoping for some thrills, I cannot help noticing the enormous variability in the youngsters, and have come to the reluctant conclusion that pulling out a 1st-winter argentatus would be impossible. Am I wrong?