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heinei Common Gull in Notts (1 Viewer)

Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.
Well ok then, maybe not as concrete as the header suggests but still a bloody good shout i reckon...

Compared to nearby canus it differed in the following:

* Larger size, especially head and bill but also longer wings which it seemed to hold slightly raised up banana style - jizz wise it was almost more like a small female type Caspian Gull than a Common Gull. Head profile more sloped.

* pale iris (appreciated best on heavily cropped attachment) and bright yellow bill with black band almost giving off a Ring-billed look at times, It had by far the brightest bill and iris on the lake (amongst c100 canus)

* white headed appearance - this was what first attracted my attention, just a few faint spots around the nape and few very fine, almost pencil thin streaks on crown but at range looked all white, all other canus present had well streaked heads (and breast sides on many) and as a result made the subject bird stand out markedly

* I never managed to see an open wing clearly but on a preen p10 looked to have little or no visible tongue which would also be a nice fit for heinei (whilst not totally excluding canus of course)

* Mantle tone was disappointingly close to nearby canus but this isn't too problematic as westernmost breeding heinei overlap with canus in this respect

* Rather small spots to primary tips (for an adult)

Obviously a canus could show all these features at some stage but surely it would be unusual for a single bird to show all these characters and render itself so distinctive amongst its congeners?

It's often speculated that heinei is a frequent visitor to Britain in winter and is just being overlooked, and that might well be the case but i've been looking for birds like this for a few years now and really haven't seen that many candidates to support this?



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Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.

A few more....


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Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.
Still looking at Common Gulls..... pity nobody else is! I only know of 3 other birders who are actively looking at these....even many of my gulling contacts admit to only giving Common Gulls a cursory glance as they skim through them to make sure there isn't something better among them, Anyway...

Had the attached near Skegness on 16/02/19 and actually think it's a better candidate than the Notts bird above - For many of the same reasons but this one was bigger and darker mantled, Infact it wasn't too far off the mantle tone of a nearby graellsii LBB (comparison in the last shot) and as you can see it also had that nice neck streaking contrasting with white head giving it that 'Asian look'..... a few canus present were moulting their heads and also had a similar effect of a neck shawl but none were as big or dark as this bird... so if not heinei then certainly a canus from well to the east of its range i'd suggest? Either way they are certainly 'of a kind' and aren't that common even when searching for such things...
Waited with camera poised for about 20 mins hoping for a flap or stretch but nothing :[email protected]



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Well-known member
Can't help much as I'm no longer in the scene. In the early 90's I did find a very good candidate in Cheshire which was submitted and remains pending. (Single observer, no photos) Immediate impressions are your individual is nowhere near as dark mantled as mine was. This was the feature that drew me to it as it was so obviously "odd"
Luv from Dave Walters

Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.
I must admit it took me a while to get into them but am now firmly hooked, i dabbled a bit when the Dutch Birding paper first came out but then i still had the distraction of lots of big gulls to look at, but since all my local tips have closed my hand has been forced. It's a good learning curve but like most larid related stuff, the more you look the more confused you get!
I just like the challenge of digging out 2w's with retained tail bands or adults with pale iris's and stuff.... they are out there but not at all easy.

I keep joking that Common Gulls will go the way of the Casp in the next few years and everybody will be doing them - with all the Tips closing and no biggies to look at away from the seaside or pig farms..... You heard it here first :t:


Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.
Thanks for that.... Great blog. And i really like the look of that 1w he and Dante had in London in 2016....
and on the subject of 1w's, there was a decent candidate photographed at Lound (Notts) last month, per Paul Hobson.
All good fun - if you like that sort of thing!


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