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Small gull ID

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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 13:38   #1
Brian Stone
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Small gull ID

So what would you be thinking if you came across this. Photographed on 10 May near Peterborough, UK. It steadfastly refused to move while I was watching it.
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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 14:01   #2
JANJ
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Despite looking obviously smaller than the BHG it looks like a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull.

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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 14:17   #3
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i'd be thinking 'how about sticking your head up and maybe flying around for a bit you lazy b******!"
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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 19:04   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhstone
So what would you be thinking if you came across this. Photographed on 10 May near Peterborough, UK. It steadfastly refused to move while I was watching it.
I had almost the exact situation a few weeks back while looking through the Black-headed Gulls at Staines Reservoirs, Surrey. I saw a gull which was obviously smaller floating along with its bill tucked under its wing. I was willing it to fly to see if it had the black underwing of a Little Gull. But, despite waiting for at least 20 minutes, it refused to move.

I did put it down as a Little Gull at the time (although it did not have a fully black head), but I suppose it could have been a young Med Gull.

Sean.
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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 19:06   #5
Gill Osborne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lowther
i'd be thinking 'how about sticking your head up and maybe flying around for a bit you lazy b******!"
Me too!!!!!! Some birds are just SO inconsiderate aren't they?
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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 20:34   #6
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I agree with JanJ, and while seeing the underwing would have been nice, don't think that we need it in this case.

I think part (but not all) of the apparent smallness is the angle we are viewing it from, notice how wide the distance between the legs relative to the other gulls.

The lightness of brown carpal bar would be an issue for Little Gull, but expected for Med. More significantly, zoom in at 500% or so, and note the dark center on the unmolted tertial, that grows progressively paler as it approaches the edge. Little gulls have solidly dark tertials except for a thin pale edge that would likely be lost at this time of year, while Med gulls can have dark centered tertials. Plate 691 in O & L Gulls has a first summer Med gull with some real similarities in the covert, mantle, tertial and primary combination.

(I don't usually comment on European Gulls, but since I see Little Gulls annually, decided I could in this case... )
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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 21:16   #7
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Hi Thayeri and all.

I didn´t make a point as to why I suggested Mediterranean over Little, but Thayeri just did, which I agree to. The all dark primaries doesn´t look that good for Little. Leg colour usually at this age reddish.

Little from June:

http://www.kustobsar.se/bilder/fagel/dvargmas1.jpg

and May:

http://www.kustobsar.se/bilder/fagel/dvargmas_2k.jpg

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Old Friday 12th May 2006, 22:11   #8
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Hi JanJ, once again, we fully agree!

I did not care for the unmarked black primaries against a gray tertial on a Little Gull, not at all, but I guess if there is one month of their lives where that situation would be most likely to occur, it would be May of 2nd CY, albeit still not likely.

In total, I had five factors strongly favoring Med over Little, including:

1. White crown
2. Lightish head markings
3. Pale brown carpal bar
4. No visible red in legs
5. Pure black primaries

But as strongly as they favored Med over Little, still... on such an apparently small gull, in a bird transitioning from 1st winter to 1st summer when molt and wear variation could create all kinds of havoc, could we absolutely and definitively rule out Little on a long range photo from one odd angle? That's why I liked zooming in on the tertial pattern, because that #6 field mark was fine for Med but just should not be there on a Little, and therefore in combination with 1-5, we nailed the B******! whether he would fly or not!

Last edited by Thayeri : Friday 12th May 2006 at 22:27. Reason: clarification
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