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Thread: Gull at Portland

  1. #1
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK

    Default Gull at Portland

    What does any gull enthusiast think of this gull at Portland? scroll down to 21st July.

    Compare it with those at the Gull Research website, but is it 2cy or 3cy?
    I have seen and videoed a very similar bird in July, which matches fuscus in the ways discussed on the site, but can I prove it?

    Brian S
    Last edited by Brian S; August 4th, 2009 at 05:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JanJ's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    Hello Brian.

    Intermedius/fuscus fuscus is an understandible header for this gull. I would normally hesitate to identify such a gull on subspecies level, since nom. fuscus (Baltic Gull) and intermedius overlapp to such a degree in these plumages (looks like a 3cy type (or possible an advanced 2cy type Baltic) that identification is pretty difficult - or even impossible.
    However, such advanced bill colour together with such great amount of brownish coverts, brownish 2cy or 3cy (?) primaries would suggest intermedius over Baltic.
    From the image, there seems to be no moult contrast visible in the primaries, cleary suggest an open wing view to se properly., which might further suggest intermedius, but not entierly - since some 3cy intermedius (and graellsii), can have two different generation primaries.

    Taken in end of May:


    Some other good papers whilst we are on the subject: (Mantle colour and taxonomy of LBBG breeding on Amrun Germany)
    Last edited by JanJ; August 4th, 2009 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    If ageing this bird as a 3cy (as bill and yellow legs suggest), I would counter JanJ and say this bird can be identified as not being a Baltic Gull with a fairly high degree of certainty for the three reasons below:

    1. A high percentage of 3cy Baltic Gulls show a distinct moult contrast in the primaries - Portland bird doesn't show a moult contrast in the primaries.

    2. A high percentage of 3cy Baltic Gulls show adult-like coverts - Portland bird shows immature-like coverts.

    3. Only a very small percentage of 3cy Baltic Gulls do not show a mirror on P10 - Portland bird apparently doesn't show a mirror on P10.

    If it isn't a 3cy then ID more problematic.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JanJ's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    Ross has of course three good points - which I could have suggested myself and let be done with. However, as much as it it might be proven right - gulls vary! Ageing LBBG's can be a challenge (as also can be seen in various LBBG websites) and as Ross mention, a high percentage of 3cy Baltic shows much more adult like coverts (as doe´s some 2cy), and shows a moult contrast in the primaries, as does intermedius and graellsii, althoug to a lesser degree So a 3cy type LBBG as the one here, which seemingly (we don´t see an open wing, which would turn guess work into facts), lack a moult contrast could be either Baltic or intermedius. Also 3cy type Baltic can lack a mirror on p10.
    The best feature imo for this gull not being a Baltic is the extensive retained second generation covert area with apparently a few blackisk third gen. feathers.
    Otherwise I´d say, put a ring on them all!

    Here´s some Baltic 2cy and 3cy showing variation, and some oters. Note one 2cy with juvenile primaries:

    Last edited by JanJ; August 5th, 2009 at 10:07 PM.

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