Thursday, 9 December 2010

More first winter (1CY) Common Gull variation

Here are more examples of first winter Common Gulls photographed in this Edinburgh garden over the last few days.

A strongly marked individual with uppertail coverts that appeared barred in life and a sooty almost smoky cast to the tail feathers. The tail had a hint of a narrow pale band above the black subterminal band. Note the barred outer tail feather on the left hand side. I would like to see this bird again in good light...

For some discussion of the above bird see the Larus canus thread on Gull Research.

For comparison, here is an individual with more typical plumage, which was the very next bird to appear.

Here is another individual with well-marked back, rump and upper-tail covert spotting and smoky bleeds on tail feathers. The subterminal tail band on this individual appears broader than normal in the first picture, though this is not shown in other shots of the same bird. Note also how the smoky tail changes in appearance in the different shots.

A couple of shots of another bird with a spotted rump but lacking the smoky bleeds. Initially I thought that this was the same individual as above, but JanJ's doubts had me checking the original shots and this bird appeared a good few minutes later and there is no reason to consider that it is the same individual.

Variations in underwing and undertail – note how the shape of the tail band changes as the tail is spread. Note also the suggestion of partial barring on the axillaries of the bird with the darkest belly in the lowest shot.

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