Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Juvenile Glaucous Gulls on Berneray

West Beach on Berneray must be one of the most spectacular beaches in Britain - in fact it is so beautiful that it was once used to illustrate a Thai holiday brochure. Of course, the temperature does not reach that of steamy South East Asia and, as if to emphasise the point, a couple of juvenile Glaucous Gulls were parading around close to a stranded seal carcass. On size and head-shape I would suggest the larger bird above is a male and the bird below a female.

These birds were heavily bleached and in a quick flight view of their patchy upperparts I think I might have identified them as 3CY rather than 2CY. Up close their bare parts seem to confirm the younger age class. Though, since these are the first Glaucs I have clapped eyes on in several years I am not claiming any expertise...


Joseph Nichols said...

Hi Geoff,

Some lovely images of those Glaucs, have been keeping up with your blog and have really been enjoying reading about your holiday to the Outer Hebrides and even more so some of your recent house birding - you've managed some great birds there recently. I've moved blogs if you are interested in keeping up to date with my birding:

Regarding the age of these Glaucs, forgive me if I am wrong but I believe these may both be pale/faded 1st winters. As far as I know a dark iris is indicative of 1st winter birds and these birds appear to show this feature; the iris is pale from 2nd winter onwards. I have read that faded first winters are most likely to occur in spring, so this could be another indicator of the age of these birds. I photographed a very similar pale first winter at Peterhead earlier this year:

Hope this helps and that you're enjoying your birding. Hopefully will bump into you somewhere in Scotland this year.

Take care and all the best,


Morg said...

Hi Joseph,

Good to hear from you. Yes, I agree with you, they are 1st winters in faded juvenile plumage - the 2CY meaning that they are now in their 2nd calendar year - (i.e. since Jan they are 2CY).

I have been following your new blog. Have enjoyed reading about your new Norfolk patch - you certainly had a good spell there recently!

I'll repair the link to your blog soon...


Joseph Nichols said...

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the reply. I see what you mean now yes, apologies for any confusion.

Also thanks for your kind words on my blog. I have found my new Norfolk patch pretty exciting recently, especially considering its location just on the edge of Norwich. I'm looking forward to checking it again soon - I'm down again for a long weekend in just over a week.

Best wishes,