Monday, 7 February 2011

First winter herring gull

I have never really mastered digiscoping - as these shots testify - but this young gull at Torness beach, East Lothian, on Sunday morning was well beyond the range of my SLR. It is a first winter Herring Gull (now in its second calendar year) with a solid dark panel on its scapulars caused by two rows of unmoulted juvenile feathers. Could this be a sign that it is a bird from the far north with a suspended moult of these feather tracts? Or is it a local bird that hatched late and has arrested its moult?
With photographs of this quality we will certainly never know...

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