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Possible Heuglin's Gull?

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 08:58   #1
Lucky Birder
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Possible Heuglin's Gull?

This bird was seen in Nottinghamshire on 8th January. The photos are taken from a video grab. One of the obvious features are the size, somewhat bigger than Herring Gull and apparently nearly as big as GB-b Gull but less chunky. It showed just two small primary tips and a blur of primary tips at the end of the wings as if the feathers were still growing. When the bird flapped it had a fairly large mirror on P10 and a somewhat smaller one on P9.
Probably not possible to be absolutely conclusive but opinions welcome.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 10:01   #2
JANJ
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Hi LB!

I can tell you at once, this is mission impossible! Some other images is urgently needed
Itīs dark looking, darker than graellsii, as it seems, right?
Size judging in gulls is not that straightforward (well if you have a large male GBBG brute besides a female LBBG itīs quite obvious), since males are larger than females (as you would know), but a heuglini doesnīt strike me to be almost as large as a GBBG, and not as dark as this one. Of the two, graellsii/intermedius graellsii usually has a white mirror on p10 and p9, intermedius often just on p10 (varies).

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 10:23   #3
Lucky Birder
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Hi Jan, I fear these are the best shots available or I would, of course posted better ones. The mantle colour I'm sure is difficult to assess and I normally see at least three different shades for any given gull depending on the cloud cover and angle of the bird.
Thanks for the comments anyway.
- A
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 10:29   #4
Docmartin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Birder
This bird was seen in Nottinghamshire on 8th January. The photos are taken from a video grab. One of the obvious features are the size, somewhat bigger than Herring Gull and apparently nearly as big as GB-b Gull but less chunky. It showed just two small primary tips and a blur of primary tips at the end of the wings as if the feathers were still growing. When the bird flapped it had a fairly large mirror on P10 and a somewhat smaller one on P9.
Probably not possible to be absolutely conclusive but opinions welcome.
Is this the same bird that someone was asking about last month? (help me out TOm?) If it's the same, someone's being very persistent. Whether it's the same or different bird, I think my opinion would be the same, i.e. that v few people have seen heuglini on their breeding grounds to know what they really look like. The identification literature is all messed up by the known example(s?) of graellsii turning up on Finnish tips; id criteria from wintering/migration is pretty useless when birds not properly id'd, and even if all this were sorted out there's no guarantee they're going to be distinguishable from graellsii in the field anyway. Not worth losing sleep over long range digiscopes. If even nominate fuscus is only on the British list from ringing recoveries (and not many of them either (?2 corpses)), heuglini isn't going to get onto the list with any less effort, and while I'd be very happy to discuss forever a putative Heuglin's in Britain, there's really nothing here to go on. Wish there was - I'd love a heuglini twitch.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 11:35   #5
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I was just going to mention something similar to what Docmartin just did. Claiming a heuglini in West Europe would be very difficult, to say the least, impossible (not easy in the Middle East at times either) and it is almost never done, not by birders with knowledge of the ID problems associated with heuglini, other than "possible heuglini", "putative heuglini" or "L. fuscus graellsii heuglini", and as Docm mentioned, seen on the breeding grounds by only a few people. The main problem is graellsii, and seing birds from, like finnish dumps doesnīt make you any wiser. Moult differences from graellsii/intermedius seems to be the only criterion which would stand a chance, but then what about the occasionally late moulting graellsii/intermedius, they frequently do occur. Gloomy, perhaps, fact of life, yes.

Have a look at these:

http://hem.fyristorg.com/nonne/3kheug.html

http://hem.fyristorg.com/nonne/heugliniadult1.html

http://hem.fyristorg.com/nonne/possheuglini2k.html

http://hem.fyristorg.com/nonne/possheuglini2.html

http://hem.fyristorg.com/nonne/2kheuglini.html

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 11:47   #6
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Attached is a photo of (presumed) heuglini in India on 27 Jan 05 for comparison - only slightly later than the Notts bird. The bird in Notts looks too white headed to me - pretty well all heuglini seen in India in Jan were still well streaked on the head.
I know the images are rather small to do much with, but my gut reaction is that it's an intermedius Lesser Black-backed.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 11:55   #7
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Hi DocMartin, I have no idea if this is the bird, which was discussed last month, and this is the first time I've asked the forum about it so it's not me who's being persistent. I didn't take the photographs but suggested to the observer that it might be worth running it passed the forum. It was only ever claimed as a possible.
No harm done.

Thanks - LB
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 13:02   #8
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Of course no harm done LB, stimulates discussions, hopefully! Many birders doesnīt put forward their gulls, or comment on difficult gulls, at BF, and other forums, either out of ignorance, fear of making a fool of them self, or simply because of the difficulties to make positive ID:s.
One shall bear in mind that large white headed gulls are difficult, if not impossible at times to ID, especially in non adult plumages! I think we have to jump on it, well aware though, of the difficulties, and the limitations associated with it. Also, in many cases, the taxonomy situation is still quite unclear.
By the way, what made the observer of the above gull think of heuglini?

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 13:34   #9
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Whitburnmark,

Nice (presumed) heuglini/barabensis (?) there, and the other two presumed heuglini/barabensis in the background. I remember this one from one of your posts, also from India:
http://www.birdforum.net/attachment....chmentid=36575

Perhaps intermedius, as you say, for the Notts bird, but from the images, well....

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 14:22   #10
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A quote that sticks in my mind from an earlier gull thread is that if you haven't made a fool of yourself identifying large white-headed gulls, then you're not trying hard enough!

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 14:31   #11
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True!
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 16:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JANJ
True!
JanJ
Actually, I'm not sure how true it is; I've managed to make a fool of myself over gulls without trying very hard!

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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 16:49   #13
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Well Stuart, it is true, at least to a certain extent. To quote Bob Dylan:
"Iīm a poet, and I hope I donīt blow it"

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Old Friday 17th February 2006, 09:02   #14
tom mckinney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docmartin
Is this the same bird that someone was asking about last month? (help me out TOm?)
Yo Doc, yes it's the same one.

Hey LB, weren't there some other images of this bird? I'm sure some of the gullers would be interested to see them regardless.

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Old Friday 17th February 2006, 22:52   #15
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The other images don't reveal any more detail. I don't think in this case there is any more instruction or mileage to be gained from posting them.
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