March 4th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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!!
Last edited by Bonsaibirder; March 4th, 2012 at 01:39 PM.
March 4th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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
March 4th, 2012, 02:26 PM
March 4th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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:
March 4th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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 at 03:29 PM.