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Thread: Ageing a Herring Gull

  1. #1
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    Default 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 at 01:39 PM.
    Cheers,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Junior Member Barry65's Avatar
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    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

    Barry

  3. #3
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    Quote 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.
    Cheers,
    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member JanJ's Avatar
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    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:

    http://www.gull-research.org/hg/HG1CY07.htm

    JanJ

  5. #5
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    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!
    Steve
    Last edited by Bonsaibirder; March 4th, 2012 at 03:29 PM. Reason: spelling
    Cheers,
    Steve

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