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Gull, Arbroath, Scotland, late September. (1 Viewer)


Stuck in Dundee.....
Posted this in Gulls subsection at end of September but no resolution to ID there (and little input). Appreciate any comments as to identification. Thoughts are between a HG x LBBG hybrid, or possibly a small race YLG (though 'omissus' HG possibly also an option). Bird was seen on a rather dull overcast morning roosting with a flock containing a mix of gulls and stood out as different being halfway in shade between HG and LBBG (both present) and with yellow legs, on 30th September. There are a few other photos on the thread below - including 1 showing the LBBG to compare mantle tone.



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Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
The distinct streaky half-hood is reminiscent of Azorean Yellow-legged Gull. Anybody mention that yet?


Stuck in Dundee.....
If it was a LBBG then it was paler than any LBBG I've seen - and stood out as being different because of the paler tone to the wings and yellow legs in combination. 1st pic here is a LBBG that was nearby in the flock and the 2nd pic is the queried gull with HG and GBBG alongside.

3rd and 4th pics are additional flight shots.


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Stuck in Dundee.....
Steve, the hood was even more pronounced on the other side of the head, and the 'half' size of it did have me looking at Azorean YLG as a possibility first of all. Winds around that time were from that part of the world but I thought that an HG x LBBG hybrid was by far more likely than any of the other possibilities.


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Well-known member
To me it looks like a good LBBG x HG candidate, and this is the first thing that sprung to my mind even before reading the comments. The primary pattern would favour this option with those fairly well developed white tongue tips to P5/P6 (at least as it’s not easy to judge P7 pattern). It’s a pretty solid feature being present consistently on this hybrid (and also on LBBG x smithsonianus).
It’s actually not that straightforward to rule out an atlantis but the head streaking extend quite far down the nape and the neck side (where they are quite blotchy on top of that, as opposed to the usually thinner and well defined streaks of YLG). Also the tongue tips aren’t an usual feature of atlantis


Stuck in Dundee.....
What convinces you (Jean and Valery) that it is a LBBG?

Would the strength of the head pattern at that time of year (very late September) be expected for LBBG (there is some rather faint mask showing on the 2 nearby LBBGs in my photos)?

My impressions of the bird 'in the field' were of a bird, slightly smaller than the HGs, which was slightly darker than the Herring Gulls but not nearly as dark as a typical LBBG, (nor as dark as the LBBGs that were actually nearby - which I would say were typical examples of LBBGs around here). That doesn't rule out it being a paler than usual individual but the jizz of the bird didn't feel right for a LBBG either - which may have been as a result of the bird's posture. It was, to me, more comparable to the Herring Gulls it was loosely associating with.

I wouldn't have spent so much time looking at and photographing the bird if it had given any impression of being a LBBG. It was the mantle shade that caused me to stop on the bird in the first place, then I noticed the leg colour. LBBGs are relatively uncommon birds in Arbroath with HG & GBBGs predominating, so even the 2 clear LBBGs that day were commented upon at the time.

(I've never seen a YLG (& only 1 Caspian) - they are still very rare in Scotland and I've never birded abroad, so any slightly unusual gull will get my attention - as much as an opportunity to learn from it than anything else. The books/magazine articles/websites usually leave me confused and tangled up in knots - seeming to contradict each other as much as they support each other, so I've posted the pics on here where there are birders who are familiar with YLG and the intricacies of gull ID in general).


Stuck in Dundee.....
Thanks, Tib. A hybrid seemed to me to be the likeliest option (and was where I'd ended up having read up as much as I could - though I was not 100% sure) but getting someone who knew enough to confirm it, or indeed totally rule it out was what I was hoping for. However, 3 folk (between the 2 threads) have now said LBBG and I'm interested in their reasoning as to why, so I can commit that knowledge (along with that from yourself) into memory, in case I need it again someday.

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