Great Black-Backed Gull ~ 2nd cy ~ Leucistic ~ Dungeness, Kent - 06.04.14

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A pale Great Black-backed gull in its 2nd Cycle is another regular at Dungeness, Kent ...
This unusual looking bird is probably leucistic, where the colour pigment has reduced, the darker pigmentation is replaced creating this faded look ..
Or could this paleness of come about by hybridisation from pass generations a Glauc x Gbbg, then one of the offspring bred and this bird is the result .. Hmmm could be, but I favour the leucism ...

Great Black-Backed Gull ~ 2nd. cy 





This is how it should look ...



Heuglin's Gull ~ 2cy ~ Dungeness, Kent - 05.04.14

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Scanning through the gathering flock on the beach at Dungeness, I was drawn to the large bill of this bird.
Once clear of the other gulls, my first thoughts were of caspian ...
I grabbed a record shot, it was now the waiting game for it to come closer ..
The flock are still flighty and the slightest thing seems to flush them, then its relocating the bird again ...
It came in only further away at the back of the flock, and was soon flushed again by walkers, this time tracking it and securing some flight images ..

Once settled back on the beach it was a quick check of the back of the camera, then came the tail pattern !!!!!
A text to MC & AL but thrown off track by the tail and then trying to send a back of camera shot which just wouldn't send ...
I'm trying to piece the puzzle together but the bits don't fit !!
What with the near high tide and a couple who sat to close they flushed and the bird didn't return, we tried again on sunday and couldn't draw it in with the rest of the flock !!

Once home and the features start to come together they suggest the possibility of ...

Larus heuglini 

Heuglin's Gull ~ 2cy 


Most striking is the tail band solid dark all the way up to the uppertail coverts, with fine barring to outer feathers ... 
On the upper rump, heavy blotchy markings, fading down in to the uppertail coverts ...
Greater coverts are solid brown, with a pale marking towards the terminal end and white tipped ...
Secondaries are dark brown, tipped white and give the dark trailing edge to wing ...
White head with fine streaking to hindneck ...
Long bill, black with base becoming pink ...
White eyelids are quite prominent ...
Scapulars are white tipped with dark shaft streaks, diamonds & anchor markings ...
Pale grey mantle ...
Inner primaries with pale inner web ...
Tertials replaced show darker shade of grey to mantle ... 


  



Underwing coverts finely barred brown with axillaries dark barred ...













A great looking bird that shows many features of heuglini, is this at the paler end and still within variation ...
Should it be more advanced ...

Is this a possible Heuglin's ?

Either way a very interesting bird to learn from ...

So people with more experience with heuglini, I would very much like to hear your views please ... 

Update ................

A great discussion on other web pages with the resulting outcome of the bird being a Caspian all features being within variation ..







Glaucous Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 29.03.14

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Another session in good light at times with the beast of Dungeness, the confiding Glaucous Gull ...

The birds markings are superb ..

Glaucous Gull ~ 1st. W











Hope it stays through the summer ..

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 29.03.14

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

This bird wasn't given the chance to move closer to us, no sooner had it landed when it was flushed by two joggers and didn't return ...
A new big bird as it doesn't match any of the other caspians that i've photographed at Dungeness ...

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W

 


A probable male bird ?

Great looking bird

Great Black-Backed Gull ~ Dungeness, Kent - 29.03.14

Monday, 31 March 2014

With virtually all adults on route to breeding grounds the birds we drew in were mainly immatures and probably 60% of these were Gbb's ...

Great Black-Backed ~ 1st .W





2nd. Winter





Common Scoter ~ Dungeness, Kent - 28.03.14

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Whilst papping the Glaucous at Dungeness, which was using the updraught and cruising along the shingle ridge, I noticed a dark bird close in at low tide ..
I'm on top of the shingle, the bird is 50m's away and the bins are somewhere in between, once at the bins and now its a drake Common Scoter i'm looking at !!
It even needed a bit of running to the waters edge ..
It wasn't spooked by two blokes drawing ever closer at speed as it was half dead and just kept drifting on by ...

Common Scoter




Feels weird its not a Gull !!  

Iceland Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 23.03.14

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A text from Martin saying " Iceland Gull at The Patch "
We were already at Dungeness, near Springfield Bridge ..
When we got there it hadn't been seen but DW relocated it at the far end of the roosting flock ...
It soon came to feed over The Patch, always to distant and in to the sun ..
So only record images ..

Iceland Gull ~ 1st. W



Glaucous Gull ~ 1st. W ~ PtII ~ Dungeness, Kent - 09.03.14

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Both Saturday and Sunday were spent trying to gain some images of the Glaucous at Dungeness, this proved to be a little difficult as the gulls are flighty. They take a long time to settle down and when flushed by numpties all with accessories like rods, dogs & girlfriends, then the gulls will not return for ages ...
The light was fantastic on both days early mornings and late afternoons but failed to use it, when it was at its best.
The intricate juvenile plumage markings are wonderful, and you need good light to enhance it ..
With the limited time that the bird gave us, these are still my best images so far of this individual ...

Glaucous Gull






Glaucous Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 02.03.14

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Having only had two distant fly-by's on separate days of this bird, the weather conditions seemed good for the long awaited prolonged views !!
It turns out that Richard had the bird on the ground, tried phoning me, but with no answer and Jono (gull hater/lover) who was going home was still there papping the gull !!  
Well we got the prolonged views both in flight and on the ground ...

But, you knew there was a but ..

The blue skies didn't last


Overcast with side lighting, now needing to over-expose the images to get into the shadows .. 



Dull, flat images and no catchlight


Now that the views and record shots are done, hopefully next time it all comes together for a great session .. 

Kumlien's Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Littlehampton, W. Sussex - 01.03.14

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

After the morning with the Little Gulls, we moved on for another try at the two white wingers at Littlehampton in West Sussex ..
The last visit see here was a productive one with only dorsal views lacking in the keepers, so today was about trying to gain some ..
The light was better than before and the wind was now more southerly all good but the birds position in the sky whilst doing what you want it to do according to direction of the sun gives unwanted shadows ...

Kumlien's Gull ~ 1st. W

Happy with this one


These are reasonable






This one has a nice pose but the background is awful & a shadow over the top wing ..