The identification features of juvenile Caspian Gull have been covered a million times, on innumerable blogs, but I'll whiz through them in case anyone is interested - small white head with beady eye placed centrally, parallel-sided bill with weak gonydeal angle, high chest, hanging rear-belly, long, stilt-like legs and long wings. I won't pretend any of these structural features are obvious, and they can change, depending on posture, but together they can add up to give a very distinctive jizz if you're used to looking at gulls. And that's the key - you've got to really look at gulls. A lot! Plumage-wise - dark bases to intricately 'freckled' greater coverts , pale-tipped tertials (without notches cf Herring Gull) and a nice white tail with neat, black tail band. There are other subtle features to look out for such as the spotty 'necklace', whitish underwing and pattern of inner primaries - all of which are visible on the accompanying photos...
Tuesday 23 August 2022
Juvenile Caspian Gull
Juvenile Caspian Gull on the left, with a juvenile Herring Gull - a beautifully pale, frosty-plumaged bird. Not terribly big so presumably a female? Almost two years ago, to the day, since my last Caspian, which was also a juvenile, but a more sepia-toned individual. See here.
No contest for today's highlight - a gorgeous juvenile Caspian Gull off Mudbank, from 1345-1445 at least. Tricky getting the news out as I've just taken ownership of Maisie's old phone (so I can FaceTime her when she's at university - thank you Maisie). This means I haven't transferred all my contacts across yet, and I haven't quite grasped how to text when I'm not at home. Luckily I was able to contact Mark who stuck the news out for me. Many thanks Mark! Also off Mudbank today - the long-staying Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Redshank and 18 Whimbrel. Great to see Martin, as always, who happened to be on Orcombe when the news went out.
Earlier, on Orcombe Point - 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipits. Off Maer Rocks - 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 juvenile/first-winter Mediterranean Gulls.
A subtly different profile when swimming - low in the water, flat-backed and long-winged compared to the surrounding Herring Gulls.