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Another Large Gull SP., Tainan County, Taiwan: vegae or something else?

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Old Friday 10th February 2017, 07:11   #1
SteveMM
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Another Large Gull SP., Tainan County, Taiwan: vegae or something else?

After a 'Mongolian' Gull with a Caspian Gull-like wingtip last week (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....86#post3521286), I'm growing increasingly confused by this lot at the moment!

Today's puzzle looked like nothing more than a nice adult Vega Gull from range, albeit one at the cuter, shorter-legged end of the scale (perhaps a female). A little closer, and the obvious white mark near the tip of P9 marked it out as one to pay close attention to ........ and then it opened its wings!

Yet again, another wingtip pattern I was really not expecting, with broad Thayer's-like tongue down P9 and rather limited black below!

Does this bird still fall within acceptable variation for vegae? Could it actually be what I hope it is? Is the eye too pale for thayeri? Does the absence of 'string of pearls' completely rule out thayeri? All help appreciated!
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Last edited by SteveMM : Friday 10th February 2017 at 12:31. Reason: Errors all over the place!
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Old Friday 10th February 2017, 13:49   #2
SteveMM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMM View Post
After a 'Mongolian' Gull with a Caspian Gull-like wingtip last week (http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....86#post3521286), I'm growing increasingly confused by this lot at the moment!

Today's puzzle looked like nothing more than a nice adult Vega Gull from range, albeit one at the cuter, shorter-legged end of the scale (perhaps a female). A little closer, and the obvious white mark near the tip of P9 marked it out as one to pay close attention to ........ and then it opened its wings!

Yet again, another wingtip pattern I was really not expecting, with broad Thayer's-like tongue down P9 and rather limited black below!

Does this bird still fall within acceptable variation for vegae? Could it actually be what I hope it is? Is the eye too pale for thayeri? Does the absence of 'string of pearls' completely rule out thayeri? All help appreciated!
After looking at gull photos for the last three hours, it looks like this probably is just an odd-looking Vega Gull as it seems altogether too brutish for Thayer's and too dark on the underside of P10. I would happily be talked out of this conclusion, though!

Last edited by SteveMM : Saturday 11th February 2017 at 01:02.
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Old Sunday 12th February 2017, 10:53   #3
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Hi again Steve!

The lack of response to this gull is understandable (wonder if Peter Adriaens have seen it?)
As you mentioned thayeri is most probably not the answer. The combination of pale iris, lack of obvious "string of pearls" (white tongue-tips). structure to mention some key features. But is it a vegae?
The combination of pale iris, lack of dark mark on p5 (and in this case, thayeri pattern on p9), could possibly make you look elsewhere, question is where? The long pale tongue below on p10 does not exclude vegae though.
Since the Ujihara´s Japanese Gulls is curently not available (living in Sweden I have had acces for a mont on an everyday basis) for Europeans. But here are some other links, which you might have seen?

http://birdingkyoto.blogspot.se/2016...l-or-vega.html
http://gull-research.org/thayers/5cyfebr.html
http://chrisgibbins-gullsbirds.blogs...-patterns.html

Not much help I´m afraid (not an easy subject!)

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Old Sunday 12th February 2017, 15:58   #4
SteveMM
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Originally Posted by JANJ View Post
Hi again Steve!

The lack of response to this gull is understandable (wonder if Peter Adriaens have seen it?)
As you mentioned thayeri is most probably not the answer. The combination of pale iris, lack of obvious "string of pearls" (white tongue-tips). structure to mention some key features. But is it a vegae?
The combination of pale iris, lack of dark mark on p5 (and in this case, thayeri pattern on p9), could possibly make you look elsewhere, question is where? The long pale tongue below on p10 does not exclude vegae though.
Since the Ujihara´s Japanese Gulls is curently not available (living in Sweden I have had acces for a mont on an everyday basis) for Europeans. But here are some other links, which you might have seen?

http://birdingkyoto.blogspot.se/2016...l-or-vega.html
http://gull-research.org/thayers/5cyfebr.html
http://chrisgibbins-gullsbirds.blogs...-patterns.html

Not much help I´m afraid (not an easy subject!)

JanJ
Thanks again for your response, JanJ, I greatly appreciate it!

Although we do get big gulls in Taiwan, the numbers here are nothing like elsewhere. The (for me, at least) cachinnans-like wing pattern of the bird at the weekend was on a bird sat with precisely 38 big gulls (mostly taimyrensis), and the thayeri-like wing pattern on a bird sat with precisely 8 big gulls (mostly taimyrensis)!

Two real outliers from a sample size of only 46 mostly unrelated/dissimilar taxa has been a bit confusing, really.
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Old Monday 13th February 2017, 09:58   #5
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difficult subject. Could be a hybrid thayer's x Vegae

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Old Monday 13th February 2017, 10:06   #6
lou salomon
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at least we can exclude a mongolicus here. i think the wing pattern is acceptable for an extreme vegae.
alex, i don't think vegae and thayeri have ever been documented to hybridize. their breeding ranges are 2000 km apart from each other.
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Old Monday 13th February 2017, 11:00   #7
SteveMM
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at least we can exclude a mongolicus here. i think the wing pattern is acceptable for an extreme vegae.
alex, i don't think vegae and thayeri have ever been documented to hybridize. their breeding ranges are 2000 km apart from each other.
Thanks for the responses above.

I agree that the only option seems to be 'some kind of' Vega Gull. It is too dark above for any of the North American taxa or any vegae hybrid with them. Malling Olsen and Larsson states 'some show thayeri-type P9' for Vega Gull, and the links provided by JanJ show the underside of P10 to be OK, too. Both 'variants' in the one bird is quite something, though.

I've added a few more photos which I think capture a couple of other interesting features of this bird: its 'short-legged' look and not especially large size compared to taimyrensis. A heart-stopping moment when I first saw the underwing, but as usual it all counts for nought!
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