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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 17:23   #1
arthurgrosset
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Gull ID

I photographed this bird last week on Mull and assume that it is a first year Iceland Gull. Can anyone confirm please?
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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 17:29   #2
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Looks like it to me! Great photo!
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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 18:28   #3
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Arthur

Nice sharp pic - sure looks likeone to me
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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 19:10   #4
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"and assume that it is a first year Iceland Gull. Can anyone confirm please?"

Slightly older than first year Arthur. More like 3rd Cal.


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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 20:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcedo.atthis
"and assume that it is a first year Iceland Gull. Can anyone confirm please?"

Slightly older than first year Arthur. More like 3rd Cal.


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I would suggest that the eye and bill colour shown on this bird would be indicative of an advanced 1st summer bird rather than 3rd cy.

Of course I may be wrong!

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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 22:17   #6
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[quote=Tristan R]I would suggest that the eye and bill colour shown on this bird would be indicative of an advanced 1st summer bird rather than 3rd cy.

Of course I may be wrong!

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Tristan[/QUOTE

We may all be wrong at times, but on this one I agree!
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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 22:29   #7
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On The Other Hand...

"What a long neck, short primaries, and cleanly demarcated bill you have, Grandmother" said Little Red Riding Hood to the purported Iceland Gull.

What fun is a gull thread without some disagreement?

Yeah, sure, the gentle head looks Iceland all the way. But those inconvenient structural features seem to point to Glaucous. The apparently short primaries could be a result of the camera angle -- but then so could the apparently short bill.

Call me undecided on species here, one photo with some possible angle issues isn't enough to decide an ID that can be quite difficult. As to age, I agree with first summer because of the bleached white mantle, an older bird would likely be having some darker colors coming in.

Beautiful photo!
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Old Friday 10th June 2005, 23:17   #8
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I also noticed the short primary projection, but it looks like p tips are quite worn. A barrovianus Glaucous could be quite similar to an Iceland , beeing smaller than hyperboreus. Breeding in Alaska, and wintering in Western N America, I suppose maybe Kumlien´s Gull is a better option, if you see what I mean.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 09:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JANJ
I also noticed the short primary projection, but it looks like p tips are quite worn. A barrovianus Glaucous could be quite similar to an Iceland , beeing smaller than hyperboreus. Breeding in Alaska, and wintering in Western N America, I suppose maybe Kumlien´s Gull is a better option, if you see what I mean.
JanJ
The one option I immediately rule out is Glaucous. Glaucous Gulls are thugs. This one is a pussycat.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 10:30   #10
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If pushed I'd vote for Iceland Gull, especially since that's what Arthur thought it was and he saw the bird, but on the evidence of this single photo I'm not entirely convinced. The rounded crown and the slightly more centrally-placed eye are pro-Iceland features, but Glaucous is capable of rounding its crown when it wants and the eye position isn't a reliable feature. We once had a small Glaucous down here that looked pretty gentle (it was initially rung in as an Iceland, but had very short wings and a pronounced tertial step).

The thing that worries me most is the bill. That black tip looks very restricted; Iceland's is usually a third of the bill or more. Also while Iceland's can have a clean demarcation between the pink and black it's not the norm and I do wonder whether this one isn't just a little too sharply cut?
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 11:50   #11
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Thanks for all these comments.

I thought it was an Iceland Gull largely because it didn't look thuggish enough for Glaucous but I was worried about the restricted nature and sharp edge to the black on the bill tip as well as the apparently short primary projection.

I'm no gull expert but attach a further 3 shots of the bird which might help you resolve the rather interesting disagreement.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 11:58   #12
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1st and 3rd on these look like "glonk" (hyperboreus ) to me (smallish eye, short prim projection & sharp cut dark tip of bill) but only cause i have seen none, so i believe jan and retrieve from any kumlienii-speculation not being skilled in northern gulls...
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 11:58   #13
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Thanks, Arthur. It's a small Glaucous.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 13:00   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetail
Thanks, Arthur. It's a small Glaucous.
Still think it's Iceland. The whole jizz looks wrong for Glaucous to me.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 13:07   #15
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The shot of the raised wings looks more like a washed out version of a Herring Gull to me, so I am very doubtful if this is either Iceland or Glaucous at all, more likely an aberrant Herring Gull in bleached first-summer plumage.

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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 15:18   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lister
The shot of the raised wings looks more like a washed out version of a Herring Gull to me, so I am very doubtful if this is either Iceland or Glaucous at all, more likely an aberrant Herring Gull in bleached first-summer plumage.

Steve

I went looking for some comparison photos on the Web. I have to report that a fair proportion of birds labelled as Glaucous looked more like Iceland to me, especially since many showed extremely long primary projections past the tail as well as a long hand (Glaucous is noticeably shorter-handed). This bird:

http://www.fssbirding.org.uk/icelandgull12feb05.htm

looks quite similar to the one in question.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 15:18   #17
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As much as it grieves me (!) I think I'm going to have to agree with Steve on the basis of the new pics!
The head isn't 'slopey' enough for Iceland, and the whole bird doesn't look vaguely like a Glauc. So I'm jumping over the mark to Herring!
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 15:31   #18
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With the new photos, I am moving my vote from undecided to reasonably definitive Glaucous.

Jizz is helpful, but just doesn't hack it when it comes to large white-headed gulls. Plumage is complicated because we have a first winter gull with worn and bleached features beginning to moult into first summer, but I don't see any reason to suspect aberrant Herring Gull. (By the way, the bird in the linked photo from Recovering Scot looks like it has longer primaries, shorter neck, and a less cleanly demarcated bill with more black, i.e. a genuine Iceland, but that is just my view.)

What I see is confirmation of structural characteristics for Glaucous, a bird that can have virtually identical plumage to Iceland, and can supposedly only be reliably distinguished on structure, bill and such. The most obvious confirmation is that the primaries genuinely are relatively short, which is a very strong indicator for Glaucous. The bill looks fairly definitive for Glaucous as well, with the wide pink base and the short, cleanly demarcated black tip.

For those of you who have Olsen and Larsson, in the description of plate 247, he takes a juvenile/1st winter Iceland with a bill that is particularly glaucous like, and invites comparison with the genuine juvenile/1st winter Glaucous bill in plate 220. To my eye, the bill in the subject bird bill is virtually identical to the Glaucous in plate 220, and distinctly different from even an example of range of variation in an Iceland.

Fun stuff...
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 17:03   #19
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I really can't see that bill belonging to any Herring Gull.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 17:50   #20
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In new images, especially 1 and 3, I agree with Thayeri. Also when you look at the bill tip, it looks a bit more blunt tipped, upper mandible tip is steeper compared to Iceland.
The primary tips weren´t worn as I thought, and the primary projection fits Glaucous like hand in a glove! I wouldn´t say that I see Herring some where in this gull. As every one can se, by all the different opinions, it´s really difficult to judge from one single photo, and Glaucous + Iceland as mentioned by Thayeri, they can be virtually identical plumage wise, and still make identification of certain individuals difficult.
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 18:55   #21
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Hybrid! LOL!
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 19:18   #22
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Leucistic Larus a. argentatus possible 2nd calender year bird judging by the bill pattern. It doesn't look aggresive enough for a Glauc & while my first impression was Iceland, the wing tips are not attenuated enough & the primary pattern is not clean.


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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 19:21   #23
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But if it were a leucistic Herring Gull the tip of the tail would be duskier than the base, not the other way around, given that the bill would indicate a well immature bird.
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Sorrow's best friend and Mirth's professed foe
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Which having heard, I'll do the like for thee.

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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 19:38   #24
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With all due respect, I don't get the leucistic argentatus theory. In order for this to be argentatus, it would need to be not just leucistic, but selectively leucistic, where the colors that are normally darkest become lightest, while some of the lighter colors only become washed out (almost creating a negative image); AND it would need to have an abnormal bill; AND the primaries would need to be abnormally short.

When we start to accept that many abnormalities in the same bird, can't we pretty much make any large white-headed gull into just about any other large white-headed gull of our choosing?

But theorizing is one of the fun parts of larophiling...
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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 19:50   #25
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I go with Iceland or one of its subspecies. That is not a Glaucous.
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