Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Second winter Black-headed Gull

I fired off a couple of shots of an 'adult' Black-headed Gull at lunchtime today. After I looked at the images, I was surprised to see the distinctive black leading edges on primaries 8 and 9, which are indicative of a second winter bird (2CY).

Once upon a time I used to draw and sketch birds. The discipline involved in field sketching seemed to induce a heightened awareness of plumage detail and a keener and more accurate type of observation. In contrast, birding with a camera has possibly reduced my field ability, since the instantaneous record of detail can be achieved without recourse to patient or painstaking observation. Maybe I can stem the tide of my decline though, through the careful examination of images to identify subtle fieldmarks that may, as a result, become increasingly obvious when in the field... I'll find out next time a BhG flies past!

1 comment:

welchs said...

Interesting, I had overlooked this feature of 2nd-win BHG, which may go some way to explaining the variability you see in outer primaries in the field; one I was aware of is the tendency towards paler orange legs, birds with obviously orange legs are not too uncommon but unfortunately we don't know the ages of most of them! Have a photo will send.