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Gull, Poland (1 Viewer)

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Hi all,
I'm trying to improve my (weak) id skills for large gulls. Browsing through my photos I found this one from 10 years ago.
Is it "omissus type" of Larus argentatus or something else?
The bill seems very strong, I'd say definitely not cachinnans-type, but could michahellis be possible? The mantle color is quite dark comparing to regular argentatus in my area, legs are almost orange, there are virtually no white spots on primaries and the red orbital circle is very clear. So could it be Larus michahellis?

Location: Gdynia, northern Poland, Baltic Sea coast
Date: 28.07.2009

For comparison, I attach another photo (the right one, walking bird) taken last year in Lagos, southern Portugal, which is definitely (?) a Larus michahellis, and to me those two birds look very similar - please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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lou salomon

the birdonist
the one from gdynia looks to be a yellow-legged herring gull (some call it 'omissus' type) and of course the other one a normal michahellis. more of a jizz thing because there aren't many clear markers to the HG, just shortish legs, different body line and large p10 mirror. i've just recently seen many yellow legged herring gulls at the polish coast.
 

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Thanks for both answers!
Lou, after reading your response I looked at both photos again and I agree that the Portuguese gull does look a bit more slender than the Polish one, though I'm not sure if the difference is big enough that it couldn't be caused for example by a different stance. Anyway, even if the general jizz points (slightly) to L. argentatus, is it really enough to nullify at least four (orbital ring, very small white spots on primaries, darker mantle and yellow legs) morphological features typical for L. michahellis? Concerning the mantle colour: gull-research.org states that: "In the Baltic region, other yellow-legged argentatus populations occur (...) with adults showing even brighter yellow legs in summer and the upper-parts only slightly darker than West European argenteus, still much paler than Yellow-legged Gull (michahellis)" (bold mine). I don't think this gull's mantle can be called as much paler than on typical michahellis. Or is it that mantle colour is variable too and cannot be trusted either (like leg colour) and jizz is the only close-to-sure way of species determination? As I said, I'm trying to improve my large gulls id skills, so any info is welcome!
 

lou salomon

the birdonist
orbitals in many baltic argentatus are red as in michahellis. small white tips to primaries are strongly abraded and thus appear this small. note that wing is not as long as in michahellis. yellow legs are no criteria to dismiss HG, but large p10 mirror is at least not that common in micha (plus short wings plus short legs plus weird body structure plus starting head striation which is not concentrated around eye. remains mantle colour which is slightly variable (northern argentatus sometimes being very dark but this one seems to be from a local baltic population). without comparison nothing can be said from this pic in this respect. an open wing certainly would have solved it and probably put your doubts to rest. :)
 

michalb

Well-known member
Poland
Thanks for further explanations Lou! I really appreciate it, for me it's not really about id'ing this particular gull, but rather learning more and more :)
 

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