Although there are no where near as many gulls feeding off the beach now (and there hasn't been since Saturday) there does still seem to be plenty of large gulls about. I had a couple of looks along the Estuary yesterday but turned up nothing better than this Yellow-legged Gull wannabe. I presume it's another one of those HerringxLesser Black-backed Gull hybrids...
|These are seemingly more regular that pure Yellow-legged Gulls!|
A few of the main give aways that this bird wasn't a Yellow-legged Gull were:
- pinky-yellow legs - short legged too
- mantle colour a tad darker and more 'sooty' than a YLG should be
- overall small size, a tad smaller than Herring Gull
- head streaking
- bill a tad smaller than Herring Gull and LBBG-like head shape
Today though I struck absolute GOLD with my second check of the river just before midday. There were a few more Lesser Black-backed Gulls about which is always a good sign, and at Coronation Corner through the bins an interesting-looking adult white-winged gull had me scrambling for my telescope.... it was a STUNNING adult Kumlien's Gull! Kumlien's Gull is a race of Iceland Gull that breeds in the Arctic region of Canada, and I believe this is the first record of this sub species for the patch! And here it is...
What an absolute stunner!! Just look at that subtle grey patterning on the primaries. For me also, it's head shape looked a bit different than the average Iceland Gull, with a slightly meaner look to it. Overall it was probably just a tad smaller than Herring Gull - but not by much.
Annoyingly my mobile is not allowing me to text at the moment, so I asked Bun to spread the news on my behalf, but just as I was speaking to him the bloody thing took flight and started flying south. I quickly made for my Lumix and managed to fire off these shots as it went by...
|Really pleased with these shots as they show the primary pattern quite nicely|
Sadly it kept flying, and as it got towards the sea it seemed to veer east. With all the gulls around though, and more storms over the horizon, there's got to be a chance it will return? I really hope it does!
An adult Kumlien's Gull was seen off Exmouth sea front yesterday, the chances are this is the same bird. I have been sent a couple of images of it though, and to me it looks to have darker (almost black) primary markings. Terry if you read this what do you think?...