1st winter Russian (heinei) Common Gulls, Istanbul

Here are some of the Common Gulls I came across in Istanbul. according to the Peter Adriaens & Chris Gibbins paper from Dutch birding a couple of years ago Istanbul was a research location for heinei Common gulls, most of what I was seeing were likely from decent ‘Russian’ stock, they did have that look and showed:

  • A Clean white, mostly un-streaked head (I feel this must be a highly important feature as I am yet to see canus¬†show this!) with Casp-like neck Shawl
  • Pink Bill base
  • Clean white rump and upper tail, a neatish thin Black band with little or no white in outer web of t6
  • Mostly White underwing, contrasting with dark secondaries
  • A long winged appearance
  • 2nd generation Scapulars are darker than canus, many with brown chevrons and markings contrasting with the darker choclately remaining wing coverts, (unless bleached as some were)

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The next few birds shows some head streaking but give a similar feel to me in terms of the tones in the wing and mantle, could well be from an intergrade zone or just variation … dunno

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The Below photo was taken in Cyprus December 2016, a similar thing going on, long winged, bug eyed thing.

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Ive seen a few Candidates in the UK, with one in particular showing almost every feature but the usual let down over here is the lack of an un-streaked almost pure white head which I suppose gives that impression of a small round head with a large eye and the expression seen on the clean headed birds above. According to the BBRC heinei common gulls are something along the lines of ‘probably only scarce’ due to a number of birds ringed in a catch of common gulls being assigned to heinei on biometrics (mainly wing length i think) i’ve never seen one that looks exactly like theyre supposed to in the paper although id hope it was a possibility. Keep looking.

 

 

 

Istanbul Caspian Gulls

 

2 nights stay in Istanbul for Amy’s birthday. The destination was her choice but I was defiantly pleased as I had an inkling it would be good for gulls.

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I’d heard mixed reviews from ‘a good number of caspian gulls’ to ‘none at all!’ and I guess dates have alot to do with that. However in between the multitude of Yellow-Legs I probably saw 40+ Caspian Gulls. There were also a mix of Canus and Heninei Common Gulls, (Blog post for them coming soon) thousands of Blackheaded and one or two Slender Billed gulls.

Despite it being a trip to see the cultural and historic delights of Istanbul and not a Caspian paparazzi outing I managed to photograph a good few birds, Many more were seen just flying around, following boats and sat around in the small harbour at Kadikoy. I didn’t locate the best spot for seeing birds on the deck but here’s selection of the birds I photographed:

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This next bird was a delight, following the boat for 5 minutes giving point black views sometimes even too close for the 100-400mm Zoom.

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The only other age other than 1st winters were a couple of 2nd winters, this one below with tiny p10 mirrors.

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The Sound of a few Caspian Gulls squabbling over bread was music to my ears and I think i’l make an effort to get out that direction again before April arrives.

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