Viking Gull ~ Dungeness, Kent - 28.12.13

Monday, 30 December 2013


Viking Gull ~ Larus hypergentatus

Its a hybrid, of mixed parentage, a cross between Glaucous Gull and Herring Gull.

It could be leucistic ..

It could well be within variation and just be a pale variant of Herring Gull ..

There are however a few features that I believe make a case for a hybrid rather than just a pale bird.

Scapular pattern with the terminal half moon shape
Tertial pattern with bold markings
Primaries with pale edges

Note ... How different the under-wing looks with the way the light hits it !!
Nothing to do with the hybrid but striking how the light changes the way the wing looks ...

The narrow pale markings at the base of the tail band

Tiny dark markings to end each primary & secondary

Is there features strong enough to backup a case for Glaucous hybrid even though they are subtle.

Or is it well within variation ..

Lets see if anybody will comment !!

Here's a few links


11 Caspian Gulls ~ Dungeness, Kent - 28.12.13

Sunday, 29 December 2013

No its not a typo, 11 Caspians at Dungeness ...
Must be some sort of Kent record !!

Me and Richard picked up Andy Lawson for what turn out to be a great morning on the falling tide.
We started from the main roost and then went through the massive raft on the sea which gave us 7 different birds.
A break in the cafe then grabbing a adult bird from the causeway.
Then out on the exposed sand which gave us another 3 birds all different individuals.

Amazing total of 11 Caspians !!

I managed to record 4 of the birds, big crops the other 7 were way out of my range, Andy digiscoped them for the record ...

The sheer number of gulls must of exceeded 4000+ birds and we could only have scratched the surface, who knows how many there could have been and still no white-wingers .. 

Caspian Gull's ~ Bob Dunn Way, Dartford - 25.12.13

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

I'm not a lover of Christmas so instead of all that xmas cheer, wrapping paper and Turkey ... I spent 5 hours scanning through the gulls in the warmth of the van, drinking coffee with Select.Fm blasting out ...

Gulls & House Music ...

I refound Andy L's .. Caspian Gull and found a second bird ..

The Grinch found two 1st. W Caspo's

Caspian No: 1

Caspian No: 2

Ivory Gull ~ Patrington Haven, East Yorkshire - 20.12.13

With the Ivory Gull still being reported and coming to feed on fish, Me & Richard set off at 04:30 Friday morning. Only an hours drive to go and the news it was still there went out, relieved to hear that ...
After waiting with a small crowd of 30 odd, it flew in to feed from the rocks.
This it did 3 times, roughly ever 2 hrs everybody happy taking a million shots of it ... Due to the wind direction it always flew in from behind the pumphouse and glided in and down on the fish, another million shots ...
All the banking flight was just out of range and given the poor light un-use able ..
The flight path was the same each time it came into feed, and once down on the ground backgrounds were difficult to achieve without clutter ...

We stayed overnight in Hull ..

Next day we tried again but only got one flight into feed, slightly better light, only this time with a crowd of c.300.
Cameras went berserk, I stood and watched the bird and listened to shutters on 10 frames a second going crazy every time the bird moved a muscle ..

A fantastic bird to see !!


Under poor light and with limited opportunity's the photography was dire ... 
99.9% of people there loved it ..
Tick and run ..
A few record shots, tick & run ..
Well I don't year list and purely went for images, sometimes you have to make do with whats on offer !!

Ivory Gull

What a great bird ..


Slender-billed Gull ~ Ebro Delta, Spain - Dec 2013

Monday, 16 December 2013

A long weekend to the Ebro Delta, Spain 12th ~ 15th December.

The target was Slender-billed Gull, it was a bit of a gamble as most would be wintering further south but we had hoped for some to over-winter on the breeding grounds ..

Flew into Reus Airport and headed for the Delta leaving us with a couple of hours before dark on the 12th.
The Delta has a patchwork of rice fields, some flooded which attract lots of birds 600+ Glossy Ibis in one flock, Great White & Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Purple Swamphens, Black-heads, Lessers & Yellow-legs all so flighty that when approached by car or on foot would fly from some distance away.
All morning of the 13th was in the north of the Delta trying unsuccessfully to get near anything at various sites and no Slenders, so we switched to the south and headed straight for Punta de la Banya which has a 5km narrow sand bar which you drive to get to the saltpans our luck changed and we located one Slender-bill, like the rest of the delta species this wasn't playing the game either.
When you entered its comfort zone the bird just moved away time and again.
We spent the rest of the afternoon with the bird until the light started to fade and then tried a fishing port, Sant Carles de la Rapita the light was wrong but loads of Yellow-legs.

First light of the 14th after coffee we were at Sant Carles port and with no boats coming in, the gulls just roosted out of the harbour, so off to Punta de la Banya and quickly located a Slender-bill.
We drove up and down that sandbar many times and finally totalled 4 Slender-bills. The light was quite nice late afternoon with dead flat carm sea.
Still the gulls kept there distance and seemed to not tolerate each others presents this was when some of the better opportunities for images happened but always just to far away.
So opted for the more artistic style of crops with some of the images .. 

Slender-billed Gull ~ 1st. W


Slender-billed Gull ~ 2nd. W

This is based on the bill and leg colour only, although secondaries do seem a shade darker, this bird shows no dark markings to alula, greater primary coverts  and also has a dark eye which are not 2nd. winter features as descibed by Olsen & Larsson.
So hopefully I've got this right but probably this isn't aged correctly.
Would appreciate others views on this ...


Slender-billed Gull ~ Ad. W

We did try again for the Slender-bills on the morning of the 15th, now what with the tide they were just to far away ..
Happy with yesterdays results, we gave in and tried another harbour at L' ampolla stopping for something to eat before returning to Reus airport ..

Also at Sant Carles harbour was one 2nd. winter Auduoin's and two adults at L'ampolla harbour ..

A great short trip with the odds stacked against us, came good in the end, now a late spring visit would be more productive !!