Thursday 10 July 2014

Yellow-legged and Other Gulls

Juv yellow-legged gull (rear left) with 2 juv herring gulls - Mudbank. Note the longer wings (the juv herrings are still growing theirs) and larger bill. Plumage-wise this was a subtle individual. The harsh lighting made assessing plumage tones very tricky.

I did two short watches off the seafront from Maer Rocks today. The first at 0540 for just 10 minutes, produced a party of 23 sand martin heading north towards the river mouth, along with 1 swift. Seven manx shearwater headed east. Then, after work and after dropping Joel at football, at around 1730 a pleasant half hour produced a further 4 sand martin, 2 mediterranean gull (juv + 2s), a smart juv yellow-legged gull, 2 little egret and 2 swift all heading towards the river mouth. Off Mudbank I found another juv yellow-legged gull with 2 juv herring gull. Also 1 whimbrel and 2 adult mediterranean gulls.

juv yellow-legged gull - note the minimal contrast between inner and outer primaries (on upperwing), the nice dark greater coverts and the bright white tail base contrasting with a neat black tail band. It has a whitish head contrasting with darker eye-surround and neck/flank blotches. 

juv yellow-legged gull - strong glare makes inner primaries look paler than they were. There was also a juv yellow-legged gull present distantly off Mudbank on July 7th.

juv herring gull - very newly fledged and taken a couple of days ago. The wings are so short it almost doesn't feel as if the bird should be flying but this and another were flying strongly.

first-summer herring gull - Exmouth Beach

second-summer herring gull - Exmouth Beach

adult herring gull - Imperial

juv black-headed gulls - above Imperial, below Exmouth Beach

little egret - flying just off Exmouth Beach, heading towards the river mouth. Sunday's great white egret was later seen at Starcross. It was a colour-ringed individual (see twitter feed on I scrutinised my photos and there are indeed rings present though the exact colour combination is impossible to discern.

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