Myself, Laurence Pitcher and Phil Saunders spent the entire day looking for Caspian Gulls in three sites surrounding Beachy Head. Unbelievably we saw none. Not even a Yellow Leg. So our final destination – NewHaven Harbour, became a photo shoot for the obliging local Herring Gulls.
The first bird below is a 4/5cy Herring Gull showing a dark tertial mark. This is apparently extremely rare in European Herring Gulls. Its common Place across the Atlantic in the Smithsonianus birds but very rare in Argenteus.
(of course and unfortunatley, not a reliable feature, so no suggestion thats what it is!)
Above, the same bird from the other side, showing a fainter patch but still mirrored on the equivalent tertial.
Below an adult Argenteus Herring showing a darker iris. This was actually inconsistent and the lefthand iris was pale. Often an eye catching bird amongst the others though, almost reminiscent of a small Caspian gull.. but i’m not in the mood for the mention of hybrids…
A Dark 1cy Herring, with milky pale fringes to tertials was quite striking in the field.
I’ve recently been getting alot out of photographing 2nd and 3rd winter Herrings. Birds in these variable plumages can be really beautifully put together. I did have a few for you to look at but should try and keep Gull pictures to a minimum and this one is the best looking.
actually heres a few more…