Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Black-headed Gull variation

As I was passing through Holyrood Park this morning, I sopped briefly at St Margaret's Loch to see whether Edinburgh's resident Iceland Gull was still in the habit of hanging around at the lower loch in the morning before heading up to Dunsapie for the afternoon. Sure enough it was still there chasing the smaller gulls for bread. Nice to see half a dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls back, always the first of the summer migrants to return to these parts.

In amongst the Black-headed Gulls this rosy individual with a flush of pink on its chest and neck was eye-catching. A well-documented variant in this species, it reminded me of the apricot coloured Common Gull that visited the back garden a few times during the winter. Both of these birds were more striking in the field than the photographs suggest...

First-winter Black-headed Gulls are also well known for the variation in their plumage. The following shots shows two contrasting birds - the individual on the left with much more melanin in the primaries, secondaries and primary greater coverts.

I only had a few minutes to try for that 'perfect' image of the Iceland Gull but somehow don't thibnk I managed that today?....

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