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Big Gulls in Taiwan

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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 13:17   #126
SteveMM
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A small number of gulls out on my sandbar today. Thanks to a strong cold front it got cut off to vehicles, meaning no fishermen!

The first photo contains four adult and three first-winter taimyrensis. Hard to see in the photo, but all the first-winters are all actively replacing their greater coverts with rather solid greyish feathers. This is easier to see in flight (second photo). The bird sitting in the centre is an adult vegae, and a further adult is obscured in the background.

A first-winter Slaty-backed Gull also flew past offshore, as did an unidentified first-winter. Before, I would have called this a taimyrensis, but I am now confused as to why it is not replacing its greater coverts and why its scapulars have been replaced with feathers of a patterned 'first-winter' type.
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Old Tuesday 11th April 2017, 16:24   #127
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Is the flying adult a vega? Look at those prominent pale tongues with wide white tips
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Old Monday 4th December 2017, 02:32   #128
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Not sure how much time I'll have to spend on these this winter, but will post as and when I come across birds that can be photographed.

This weekend, two adult taimyrensis gulls did come close. These were quite representative of the half a dozen or so I came across over the weekend in terms of moult, being only at mid-primaries and with some secondaries still growing.
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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 08:25   #129
Dean Nicholson
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Excellent thread, many thanks Steve (and Alex!) - inspiring and horrifying in equal measures!

Steve, any thoughts on this adult bird from England in late March 2012 - http://birdingfrontiers.com/2012/03/...-lincolnshire/
I (and others) considered to be a good taimyrensis candidate at the time, a bold claim i know but would seem to fit? No open wing shot unfortunately but the p10 mirror can be seen well and does seem to show at least some black on p4. Lots of black in the prims.
I don't subscribe to the Herring x LBB hybrid theory here (quite familiar with those by and large) although a michahelis hybrid (with either LBB or Herring) might be a little more difficult to rule out - but even then could that combo still show dense nape streaking like that?.....at the end of March(!)

Any comments greatly appreciated.....

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Dean
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Old Friday 8th December 2017, 03:16   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Nicholson View Post
Steve, any thoughts on this adult bird from England in late March 2012 - http://birdingfrontiers.com/2012/03/...-lincolnshire/
Hi Dean,

I can't see anything on this bird that would rule out taimyrensis, and superficially at least it looks much like the birds we get here. In fact, the head/nape streaking (a cluster of streaks on the nape and a 'dusting' around the eye) looks spot on for many at that time of year, as do the fresh-looking but rather smallish apical spots on the (presumably recently replaced) primaries. (Both of these features would rule out any YLG influence, no?)

The only thing that does look odd to me is all that bulk. The 'best' taimyrensis (and I hesitate to use the word 'typical') are on the slender side, with long-looking wings; your bird seems a bit 'brutish' to me. However, the first bird in my last post above (#128) looks similarly 'brutish', so I guess your bird still falls within range.

I've added a few more late Feb/Mar photos of taimyrensis. The first photo shows the 'best' taimyrensis (with its long wings), and these structurally don't look much like your bird. The last photo shows a collection of mostly taimyrensis (with all its variation), some of which do look a lot more like your bird!

As Yoav says in the original thread, though, it would be nice to have an open wing to look at, and I don't know how much further you could go with this bird without that!

No help whatsoever, then, in the end!

Steve
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Old Friday 8th December 2017, 14:28   #131
Dean Nicholson
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Thanks Steve,

Nice to get feedback from someone who actually see's these regularly....
Like you say it was a chunky bird and obviously bigger than the LBB's present, more Herring or Y-L Gull size.
Re-assuring to see the broad tertial crescents on your birds too as this was a concern of mine at the time and also picked up on by Jan in his reply.
It still looks good to me but unfortunately just wont make the grade without a spread wing. Been looking hard for similar beasts every year since but haven't come close to anything quite like that.....i remember the neck shawl standing out markedly, it was literally the only adult gull present which had one - this feature alone worth bearing in mind for anybody else looking at 'LBB's' around the Feb/March/April period.
Got to be on the radar here....

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Old Sunday 10th December 2017, 14:41   #132
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A few gulls around at one site today, but just the usual suspects involved. First a few mongolicus.

The first-winter has lovely new silvery-grey scapulars with black arrowhead markings in the centre, greater coverts which are already showing signs of bleaching, secondaries which are showing signs of wear, brownish tones to the (faded) primaries, and a well-defined narrow tail band. Would like to track this one down again!

The two adults have completed their primary moults (quite unlike taimyrensis) and have nice pale tongues to about half way down the underside of P10.
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Old Sunday 10th December 2017, 14:53   #133
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The other usual one is taimyrensis.

In contrast to the mongolicus, this first-winter is still juvenile with solidly blackish-brownish greater coverts and no real signs of wear. The adults (or near) still have a long way to go to complete their primary moults and have secondaries still growing.
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Old Friday 15th December 2017, 13:54   #134
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Top prize today was a first-winter Mongolian Gull (first two images) flying around in my small harbour. This one remains very fresh-looking, with very few signs of wear or bleaching.

It is interesting to compare it with the first-winter Taimyr Gull (last two images) it was flying around with. Despite presumably hatching some months later than the Mongolian, this bird is light years ahead of it in terms of feather replacement!
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Old Friday 15th December 2017, 14:01   #135
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Most of the adult birds kicking around today were also Taimyr Gull (first image) in their expected mid-moult mess.

A single presumed Vega Gull (second image) put in a brief appearance. In addition to the heavy head markings, the bumped snout and long tongue down P10 don't sit well with Taimyr Gull.

The fashion among the big gulls this season seems to be to have red on both mandibles, which both the Taimyr and Vega showed (the Taimyr is pictured).
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Old Monday 18th December 2017, 00:07   #136
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A few adult taimyrensis from the weekend just gone. The last two are a bit more advanced than the others.
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Old Monday 18th December 2017, 00:11   #137
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These can be compared with the ghostly pale adult winter Mongolian Gull and a couple of Vega Gulls that showed up this weekend.
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Old Wednesday 20th December 2017, 01:22   #138
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A few typical first-winter Taimyr Gulls and two rather atypical ones.

The first three are typical for the time of year. The fourth is remarkably advanced and already replacing some greater coverts. The fifth has very differently patterned scapulars to the other birds and even traces of yellow in the bill, making me wonder if I've got this one wrong altogether (though Mongolian and Vega can be eliminated by lack of window on the inner primaries IMO, leaving... ?).
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Old Wednesday 20th December 2017, 01:44   #139
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A few second-winter Taimyr Gulls.

The first two are typical, with a mix of grey and brown above, dirty neck shawls, and tail bands of varying width/completeness. The second individual is at the 'dirty' extreme, even suggesting Vega with its dirty head (and atypically dark bill). The third individual is at the paler extreme, and I wonder if this might actually be a retarded third-winter.

I consider it a mark of progress that I'm becoming more interested in these baffling 'interim' plumage stages than in first-winters and adults. However, this could also be just a symptom of a more serious underlying psychological condition!
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Old Wednesday 20th December 2017, 01:50   #140
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The last birds of the weekend just gone are the first-winter Mongolian Gull yet again, which paid the briefest of visits to my harbour. I also found a cracking Vega Gull en route home (which I've aged as a third-winter, but am admittedly not yet fully competent at ageing these things).
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Old Sunday 24th December 2017, 13:59   #141
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A few updates for those with enough patience to persevere with this thread.

Mongolian Gulls first. The cracking 'typical' fresh first-winter (first photo) was around on and off this weekend, permitting more photos. It has been joined by a second, more cryptic individual (actually the fifth bird in #138 above) (remaining photos). This bird lacks much of a window in the inner primaries, but does have a row of pale spots there.

It is Mongolian rather than Taimyr due to completely replaced (white, rather than blue-grey) scapulars, no evidence of feather replacement in the wing, notches/patterns in the outer greater coverts, and a brownish look to the hand (it is pretty obvious where this bird is going the bleach).
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 02:14   #142
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Some first-winter Taimyr Gulls from the weekend just gone...
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 02:17   #143
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Some older Taimyr Gulls...
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 02:21   #144
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Some adult (or near) Taimyr Gulls. The first bird is interesting as it has alomst finished its primary moult. The last bird has a large mirror P10 and an interestingly-patterned tip!
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 02:34   #145
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Some adult Vega Gulls (much scarcer than Taimyr Gull in Taiwan). The first needs no explanation. The second has nice orange orbital skin around the eye (unlike the vinous-red of Taimyr). The third is more debatable with the pale orange tones to its legs, but I think a 'birulai'-type Vega Gull from very pale upperparts (too pale for any Taimyr), dull greenish bill base, and broad white subterminal crescent on the tongue of P6 at least.
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Old Saturday 30th December 2017, 13:44   #146
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A couple of new first-winter Mongolian Gulls around this weekend.

The first (Pictures 1/2) has weakly marked new pale blue scapulars and signs of bleaching in the coverts already. The second snouty-looking individual (Photo 3) has more patterned scapulars but I could not get a good shot of its upperside. The original long-billed individual (Photo 4) also lingers, as does the huge individual (Photo 5) with the white scapulars (#141 above).
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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 15:02   #147
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A bunch of juveniles seem also to have turned up this week, and these are just baffling!

I assume the first two individuals to be Vega Gulls by virtue of coarsely-marked greater coverts and pale panels P1-5. The inner webs of these feathers also seem to have some mottling/marbling 'effect' going on there.

The next two I assume to be Taimyr Gulls by darker outer greater coverts (still patterned, though) and lack of any pale panel on the inner primaries. Otherwise, all four of these birds are frighteningly similar.

Perhaps more perplexing still is the fact that the presumed Taimyr Gulls look so different from a known Taimyr Gull (last bird) presumed to be of the same age!
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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 15:05   #148
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An adult presumed Taimyr Gull is also hanging around, one which has an oddly-marked P10 and a broad white tip to the tongue on P7. It seems much too dark for Vega Gull, though.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 11:03   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balex78 View Post
Interesting the long p10 tongue of this last individual. Maybe some steppe gull /caspian gull influence?
Don't think we have to go there! The bird in post 75.

JanJ

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