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Black-headed Gull, Vagrant, or something else???

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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 04:52   #1
Otarujef
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Question Black-headed Gull, Vagrant, or something else???

Place: Cape Moire, Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan
43.196105, 140.790776
Date: 2020-5-23 16:00/4 pm
Weather: Cloudy to Sunny 10C

Hi Everyone!

This gull has got me looking through so many books and material.
If a Blacked-headed Gull, It appears to have winter plumage.

Any help to ID this one is well appreciated!
Everyone is so kind here

Thanks, Be safe, and God Bless,

Jeff
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 04:54   #2
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Another shot

Here is another shot as well...
The gull is small to medium size.
It seemed more small than medium.

Jeff
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 05:12   #3
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Looks ok for B.h Gull to me but wait for Gull afficionados to confirm.
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 05:23   #4
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Thanks Andy! :)
:thumbs up:
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 10:23   #5
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Not winter plumage but first-summer (second calendar-year) immature.

Just out of interest, what do you call the large dark backed gulls in some of the photos?

Steve
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 10:41   #6
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Thumbs up Thanks!

Steve,
Thanks so much for the info! :)

I am using Hans Larrson's Helm guide.
Not sure the best place to ck online....
(I am rather new to the world of Gulls)

To answer your question (I hope I pass the test!)
Black-tailed Gulls are much in season here,
so I go with that as far as the white neck and bill markings,
though Slaty-backed Gulls can do strange things
to one's interpretational ID of Gulls.....
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 12:18   #7
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The larger. darker gulls are Black-tailed Gulls
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 13:05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otarujef View Post
Place: Cape Moire, Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan
43.196105, 140.790776
Date: 2020-5-23 16:00/4 pm
Weather: Cloudy to Sunny 10C

Hi Everyone!

This gull has got me looking through so many books and material.
If a Blacked-headed Gull, It appears to have winter plumage.

Any help to ID this one is well appreciated!
Everyone is so kind here

Thanks, Be safe, and God Bless,

Jeff
BirdLife International Datazone maps Japan as a normal wintering area for Black-headed Gull, presumably those that breed on the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and Ussuriland. Now Japan lost the two nearest large islands (and a host of smaller ones near them) to Russia at the end of WW2, and has been in dispute with Russia ever since. Technically then, Russia and Japan, having never signed a peace treaty, can in some ways still be considered to be at war...! The nearest bit of 'Russia', then, is only 3.7km from Hokkaido.

So, depending upon whom you believe owns these islands, the Black-headed Gull both is and isn't a Japanese breeding bird; in other words, It's Schroedinger's Gull!

It may be the height of good manners in Japanese birding circles to state that it breeds on the Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and Habomai Island Group...!
MJB
PS You'll need to change that if you're with Russian birders...
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Old Saturday 30th May 2020, 15:26   #9
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Talking

Thanks MJB and Bobbitworm45!

LOL, the war still continues in the media here for those islands and others off the coasts of Japan.
luckily birds have different minds on borders. Schroedinger's Gull! I like that

I do wonder why if the black-headed gull is a bit south of where it usually resides for the summer anyways....
Any clues to that???

Thanks always,

Jeff
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Old Sunday 31st May 2020, 14:26   #10
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Originally Posted by Otarujef View Post
Thanks MJB and Bobbitworm45!

LOL, the war still continues in the media here for those islands and others off the coasts of Japan.
luckily birds have different minds on borders. Schroedinger's Gull! I like that

I do wonder why if the black-headed gull is a bit south of where it usually resides for the summer anyways....
Any clues to that???

Thanks always,

Jeff
From the attached extract from the BirdLife datazone Map, you can see that the whole of Japan is a wintering area for Black-headed Gull, which is also monotypic, and so it's the same over its entire distribution.

Your bird has barely started to enter summer plumage in late May. There are several possible reasons for that, amongst them being:

a. It is from a population that breeds at a latitude much further north, where the breeding season starts late and so the full breeding plumage may be delayed.
b. It isn't yet old enough to breed, and so the triggers that control plumage changes are not accelerated by the effects of attaining sexual maturity; it may just loaf about the wintering area, possibly drifting away later in the season, perhaps even as far as its population's breeding area.
c. It is affected by a condition that reduces the breeding impulses.
MJB
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Old Monday 1st June 2020, 09:18   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
From the attached extract from the BirdLife datazone Map, you can see that the whole of Japan is a wintering area for Black-headed Gull, which is also monotypic, and so it's the same over its entire distribution.

Your bird has barely started to enter summer plumage in late May. There are several possible reasons for that, amongst them being:

a. It is from a population that breeds at a latitude much further north, where the breeding season starts late and so the full breeding plumage may be delayed.
b. It isn't yet old enough to breed, and so the triggers that control plumage changes are not accelerated by the effects of attaining sexual maturity; it may just loaf about the wintering area, possibly drifting away later in the season, perhaps even as far as its population's breeding area.
c. It is affected by a condition that reduces the breeding impulses.
MJB
Option (b) is the right one - this bird is an immature (1 year old); they don't breed until they are 2-3 years old. Immature gulls frequently stay in the wintering area, that way they don't compete with the breeding birds for food resources, and can also save a population from extinction if some disaster wipes out the breeding colony.

As an aside, I don't think that map is very reliable . . . strange coincidence with the Russia - Mongolia border, which I can't believe is real
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