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An odd 1w Common Gull

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Old Tuesday 19th February 2019, 16:16   #1
Dean Nicholson
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Gainsborough
Posts: 124
An odd 1w Common Gull

Whilst grilling the Gullage near Skegness on Friday I bumped into this small and dusky 1w and honestly convinced myself i was looking at a brachyrhynchus(!)
After sleeping on it i have since lost a bit of faith and think that a dark canus could actually look like this but there are a couple of things that would still seem a bit odd for that..... firstly the size of the thing - It was only present about 2 minutes so i couldn't snap it alongside any other Common Gulls but you can compare it in size to the BHG in the first shot to get an impression - it was about the same size as a BHG and looked tiny next to Herring Gulls, It wasn't only the small size that was eye-catching either, even on a 'normal' sized CG the dark markings on the head and underparts were striking.... far darker than any other 1w canus present.... the last shot i fluked as the bird flew off (never to be seen again) shows a very dark/messy underwing with a dirty grey ground colour which is obviously darker than the uppertail covs, this is quite different to the pale/whitish looking underwing usually seen on canus? also the brown stretches right down past the legs/lower belly which i also think is unusual in canus? and the final thing that niggles is that even on dark and well streaked 1w canus they usually show an unmarked whitish throat/chin area.....
The upper and undertail coverts are certainly streaked but enough for brachyrhynchus? there are certainly some birds on GRO and other sites from America which show a similar amount of streaking but it's not too difficult to find dark end canus with similar either.... and i can't really see enough of the tail to comment.
I also think the finely fringed upper tertials are also a better fit for brachyrhynchus and i won't even go into that oddly small head and bill...
Throughout the rest of the session i payed particular attention to other 1w birds present and struggled to find any with obvious streaking to under-tail coverts or even with any underpart streaking below the upper breast sides, the underwings in flight also appeared much whiter than the subject bird too, often appearing similar to a 1w Casp.

Comments more than welcome if only to tell me i'm looking too hard!

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