Wednesday 20 February 2008

Gull School

I'm really enjoying the challenge of young gull identification at the moment and over the past two mornings I've had a good subject to practice on. Now, this is obviously up for discussion but, I belive the first picture below is of a first winter Great Black-backed Gull (on Hyde Park's Serpentine) and not a Lesser Black-backed Gull. I managed to compare its size with a first winter Herring Gull yesterday and although the difference wasn't as distinctive as I've seen between adult (and possibly male) birds it was clearly a size up and bulkier. Also when seen out of the water it showed pretty long legs with lots of tibia on show, a heavy chest and the bill is heavy with a pale tip. The only things that really put me in any doubt is the lack of any extensive white tips to the tertials. Could this be down to worn plumage late in the moult cycle? So much to learn!

1st Winter Great Black-backed Gull?

I also took a shot of this pair of Lesser Black-backed gulls because they illustrated a nice size comparison between the sexes.

Pair of Lesser Black-backed Gull (female left, male right)


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