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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 20:38   #9251
upstarts1979
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Originally Posted by timmyjones View Post
To get a bit of a conversation going, to me the first gull looks like a dark mantled Common Gull (dare I mention 2w heinei) and the shots of the new 2w Yellow-leg look more like a argentatus Herring Gull

Bird doesn't feel right for YLG, head shape seems out, legs are pink, prominent window on the inner primaries and mantle shade seems more argentatus to me but willing to hear others views on this bird.

Also in the first picture of the Common Gull is that another bird sat on the island facing us or an over exposed Black-head?
Hi Tim
the first bird on the island is a bit too big for common gull, although colour is difficult to judge in photos it does seem a bit too dark on the mantle and scapulars, head also appears a bit too angular, to me common's always seem rounded which gives them a 'gentle' facial appearance.
The 2nd winter bird, if it was a herring would show translucent secondaries from underneath and the legs only go yellow in the last 18 months or so before it becomes an adult. Only my opinion though and who am I.
Like you say its good to debate and it is always worth questioning and not take everyone's ID as gospel. I think we all have a lot to learn on gulls, hybrids will soon be appearing to add to the fun.
John



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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 20:45   #9252
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This is all Tim. Extreme crops & no processing.

Rob
Looks slightly more LBBG like now, any others wish to voice an opinion?!
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 21:18   #9253
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Apart from the Webs count, there was a lot of singing birds on the reserve, which included.
Mistle Thrush, song thrush 2, goldcrest, goldfinch, bullfinch, numerous reed bunting.
I also located 4 long tailed tits nests with several more possibilities, owing to the adults behaviour. If you do come across one PM me with its location but try not to linger too long near them.
I am following up last years breeding survey, with an emphasis on the areas where we have carried out extensive work.

Non breeders, fieldfare 25 plus 5 redwing on east side of Moors. Also rook my first of the year.

Also today Butterflies - Peacock, 2 x small tortoishell
and several very large Buff tailed bumblebees

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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 21:45   #9254
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Originally Posted by upstarts1979 View Post
Apart from the Webs count, there was a lot of singing birds on the reserve, which included.
Mistle Thrush, song thrush 2, goldcrest, goldfinch, bullfinch, numerous reed bunting.
I also located 4 long tailed tits nests with several more possibilities, owing to the adults behaviour. If you do come across one PM me with its location but try not to linger too long near them.
I am following up last years breeding survey, with an emphasis on the areas where we have carried out extensive work.

Non breeders, fieldfare 25 plus 5 redwing on east side of Moors. Also rook my first of the year.

Also today Butterflies - Peacock, 2 x small tortoishell
and several very large Buff tailed bumblebees
Chiff Chaff singing in the 'secret garden' this morning as well
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 21:46   #9255
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Education Reed bed

Des
I seem to remember you mentioning the deterioration of the top reed bed recently, maybe it was via email.
I had a walk in there today, see what you mean mate, it has almost dried out in places. However I think it is not beyond redemption. It needs to be raked off or burnt in sections as they do in Norfolk. There are probably 20 years of dead reed stems in there. I dug my heel into the ground and thankfully it is still wet in some parts of it. If we do have a say in the reserve in the near future, it is worth having a meeting to discuss the best way to rejuvenate it.
The bottom reed bed is being choked by emergent trees.
If anyone is interested to see what happens to an un-managed wetland, just take a walk through the area past the sandy heathland.
John
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 21:51   #9256
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A few photo`s from the Flashes this afternoon.One of the Avo`s was "picking fights" and being territorial.Lets hope this is a good sign and this lot stay.

These shots were all taken from the downstairs dept of the hide.IMO a much better angle for photography.


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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 21:54   #9257
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The Lapwings were looking good in the afternoon sun.

Chris
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 22:14   #9258
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Cracking images Chris.

Rob
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 22:15   #9259
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Des
I seem to remember you mentioning the deterioration of the top reed bed recently, maybe it was via email.
I had a walk in there today, see what you mean mate, it has almost dried out in places. However I think it is not beyond redemption. It needs to be raked off or burnt in sections as they do in Norfolk. There are probably 20 years of dead reed stems in there. I dug my heel into the ground and thankfully it is still wet in some parts of it. If we do have a say in the reserve in the near future, it is worth having a meeting to discuss the best way to rejuvenate it.
The bottom reed bed is being choked by emergent trees.
If anyone is interested to see what happens to an un-managed wetland, just take a walk through the area past the sandy heathland.
John
The appearance of the reed-bed you saw today John has only occurred in the last couple of weeks, that's why I was wondering if the reeds had been deliberately flattened or some sort of wind vortex had sent the reeds to the ground.


Des.
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 22:31   #9260
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Hi Tim
the first bird on the island is a bit too big for common gull, although colour is difficult to judge in photos it does seem a bit too dark on the mantle and scapulars, head also appears a bit too angular, to me common's always seem rounded which gives them a 'gentle' facial appearance.
The 2nd winter bird, if it was a herring would show translucent secondaries from underneath and the legs only go yellow in the last 18 months or so before it becomes an adult. Only my opinion though and who am I.
Like you say its good to debate and it is always worth questioning and not take everyone's ID as gospel. I think we all have a lot to learn on gulls, hybrids will soon be appearing to add to the fun.
John
Yer does seem more LBBG now, although still think that bird on the island in the first photo looks Common like!

Still struggling to see YLG in 2nd claimed bird, looks argentatus to me
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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 23:16   #9261
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Hi Peter,

Both Yellow-legged Gulls (adult/near-adults)

Brian
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You've made my day.

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Old Sunday 11th March 2012, 23:34   #9262
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M = Moors , SP = sailing pool, F = Flashes
GCG 11 (6 M, 5 SP)
Little grebe 2 (M)
Mute swan pr (M)
Canada geese 26 (20M, 6 F)
Teal 22 (6 M, 16 F)
shoveler 15 (M)
Gadwall 4 (pr M, pr F)
Shelduck pr (M)
Mallard 46 (18 M, 28 F)
Pochard 5 (M)
Tufted 51 (M)
Coot 100 (88M, 12F)
Water rail 1 (SP reed bed)
Oystercatcher 4 (2 prs M)
Avocet 4 (F)
Snipe 6 (M)
Curlew 16 (F)
Lapwing 24 moved through over Amy's (breeding 1 M, 10 F)
BHG 1000 (F)
LBBG c20
Herring Gull 6
grey heron 2 (1 M, 1 F)
Moorhen 20 (8 M, 12 F)
John,

Have you missed out the two YLGs Simon photographed at the Moors today?

Peter
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 08:52   #9263
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John,

Have you missed out the two YLGs Simon photographed at the Moors today?

Peter
Hi Peter
I am not sure if Phil adds all the sightings made by others. I think the criteria for the WEBs count is what the recorder see's, if not then they YLG's will be added.
John
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 09:01   #9264
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The appearance of the reed-bed you saw today John has only occurred in the last couple of weeks, that's why I was wondering if the reeds had been deliberately flattened or some sort of wind vortex had sent the reeds to the ground.


Des.
I think the wind and rain from last week was the tipping point. It would appear that although the reeds can stand for several years, the prolonged lack of water makes them more susceptible to becoming so brittle that they break off. I think I will ask John H at the sailing centre if we can do something about it. The reed warblers will never breed in it this year. When we finish the Moors tasks off, I will ask the Tuesday crew if they want to get involved in there, before the warblers arrive. It would only take a few hours with a few people to sort it. John
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 12:25   #9265
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Brian,

You've made my day.

Peter
Don't mean to be a spoil sport but these 2 gulls look a lot more like Lessers to me! Mantle shade seems far to dark and head shape seems out. Any more photos of them with an open wing might help the identification.

Lets not forget YLG is still a scarce gull at Upton and without my reports to hand I'd guess that a minimum of 4 birds in March would be unheard of?
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 12:35   #9266
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Don't mean to be a spoil sport but these 2 gulls look a lot more like Lessers to me! Mantle shade seems far to dark and head shape seems out. Any more photos of them with an open wing might help the identification.

Lets not forget YLG is still a scarce gull at Upton and without my reports to hand I'd guess that a minimum of 4 birds in March would be unheard of?
Hi Tim,

Yes, I agree! Saw these two birds this morning (presumably a pair as they stayed very close to each other). When I looked at the picture I fell in to the trap of thinking one of them was the near-adult YLG from the other day but of course they are both LBBGs. So sorry Peter, YLG will have to wait for another day!

The key to gull ID is look at lots of them, then look at some more and you'll still be left will plenty of opportunity to make a balls up

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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 12:45   #9267
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Yer does seem more LBBG now, although still think that bird on the island in the first photo looks Common like!

Still struggling to see YLG in 2nd claimed bird, looks argentatus to me
Also, look at the greater coverts on the first of Chris's pictures here. They are darker and form a contrast with the median and lesser coverts which favours YLG in combination with the other features already mentioned.

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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 14:29   #9268
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Hi Tim,

Yes, I agree! Saw these two birds this morning (presumably a pair as they stayed very close to each other). When I looked at the picture I fell in to the trap of thinking one of them was the near-adult YLG from the other day but of course they are both LBBGs. So sorry Peter, YLG will have to wait for another day!

The key to gull ID is look at lots of them, then look at some more and you'll still be left will plenty of opportunity to make a balls up

Brian
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Brian and Tim,

Thanks a lot, guys. That was a short-lived tick. Gulls are clearly hard work. I think I'll keep to the simple stuff like separating Marsh and Willow Tits.

Peter
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 17:49   #9269
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Spent the morning at the flashes, seemed to be the only birder there,so here's what was knocking around.



4 Avocet

2 Curlew

2 Oystercatcher

11 Lapwing

1 Snipe

9 Teal

2 Stock dove

2 Pied Wagtail

1 Redshank droped in around 08:15 stayed 30 minutes and departed as noisily as it arrived.
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 18:22   #9270
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Also, look at the greater coverts on the first of Chris's pictures here. They are darker and form a contrast with the median and lesser coverts which favours YLG in combination with the other features already mentioned.

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Thought I'd look at this gull in some more detail and come out with my opinon on the pro Yellow-leg features and the pro Herring features


Pro Yellow-leg
  • All white head and chest (no dark eyemask but obviously and advanced bird)
  • Dark bases to tertials with pale tips and iregular barring near tip (although maybe a bit too much?)
  • Dark eye
  • Largley grey mantle, with only small brown flecks in it


Pro Herring
  • Dusky underwing
  • Inner greater coverts heavily barred
  • Strongly bi-coloured, mainly pale bill with small dark area
  • No Yellow tinge to legs (look at photo with spread wing next to LBBG of same age)
  • p 1-3 seem to be wholly grey with dark shafts and subterminal markings (Herring like) p4 has grey inner web with a fair bit of grey on outerweb (intermediate Yellow-leg/Herring) and P 5,6,7 and at least 8 have grey inner webs (pro Herring)



Features I can't quite figure out from current photos and which further photos may help

Tail- appears to show a solid thick dark tail bar (pro michahellis) but with a few markings above this but can't see true extent of this (pro argenteus/argentatus) also quite a bit of white on edge of p6 so a spread shout should help?

I have attached a picture showing how the mantle shade differs on this bird. I presume the sun is coming from the right in these shots (taken from concrete hide in the afternoon?) so in my photo the top two crops show the mantle in the shade (caused by wings together and head) and the bottom two photos show it in the sunlight.

To me the bottom two photos show a mantle shade a lot more argenteus like and the top two more michahellis/argetatus like. Perhaps Chris could comment on what this appeared like in the field?

The darkness in the outer greater coverts seems present in the top photo here but very pale in the photo underneath, again perhaps this is due to the lighting effect.

An unusual bird and possibly a hybrid? Unless I'm just looking beyond the obvious and trying to hard to discern features that aren't present!

Interesting no matter what it turns out to be!
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 20:04   #9271
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Spent a few hours at the reserve this morning, the avocets were there ranging from 2 -4 on and off, they did seem to be struggling to find food as two of them spent a good deal of time upending near the first flash.

The redshank made an appearance about 10oclock, it came very close to the hide in the channel to the left, it stayed for about 10 minutes before heading off and alighting on the third flash, did'nt see it again after that.

Chiffchaff was calling around the back of the sailing pool.
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Old Monday 12th March 2012, 20:09   #9272
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re YLG.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

By the way, dusky underwing and bi-coloured bill are not necessarily pro-Herring features. Plumage and bare parts are equally if not more variable than in Herring Gull.

Just have a look at these, these and for amazing variability in the same month of the same age group here

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 07:30   #9273
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re YLG.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

By the way, dusky underwing and bi-coloured bill are not necessarily pro-Herring features. Plumage and bare parts are equally if not more variable than in Herring Gull.

Just have a look at these, these and for amazing variability in the same month of the same age group here

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good an informative debate Brian and Tim, I am sure we have all learned something , and no fall out - that's what it is all about.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 07:31   #9274
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Spent the morning at the flashes, seemed to be the only birder there,so here's what was knocking around.



4 Avocet

2 Curlew

2 Oystercatcher

11 Lapwing

1 Snipe

9 Teal

2 Stock dove

2 Pied Wagtail

1 Redshank droped in around 08:15 stayed 30 minutes and departed as noisily as it arrived.
Cheers for that Graham, was concerned that the Avos had not been seen.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2012, 09:00   #9275
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good an informative debate Brian and Tim, I am sure we have all learned something , and no fall out - that's what it is all about.
And no further forward. I've had an email from a keen gull watcher who is reluctant to provide an opinion on the Upton bird but reckons that at least two of these are not Yellow-legged Gulls!

There you go you see, ask 10 birders for their views on an individual gull and you'll probably get at least 10 different opinions.

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