Monday, 26 December 2011

Local Bully Boys

Hope that everyone that reads this has had a decent Christmas. Having got back from Toronto late on 23rd, I spent a few hours on Christmas Eve doing the neglected patch before getting amongst it with wrapping the presents. Anyway, I'd promised some of my Canadian friends a few 1st-winter (European) Herring Gull shots so that they'd provide a decent like-for-like on the smithsonianus we saw together at Niagara a couple of days previously. All these shots taken on 24th December.
A particularly advanced pale individual; note the frosting of the greater-coverts straight to the bases. Lacks the often dark bases that you see in smithsonianus

A fairly dark, relatively immature individual perhaps emanating from a more northerly latitude. But plumage wise, a typical bird - note the shelling on the tertials protruding well towards the base.
 
Dark underwing coverts, but argenteus and argentatus generally lack that velvet smooth texture to the underparts that smithsonianus show. Also note the distinct lack of an all dark tail and palish undertail-coverts.
A near-adult, though the head streaking is just that - it's not blotching. Those legs just don't get close to that bubblegum pink I saw in all the Niagara smithsonianus. In flight, dark area on primary-coverts suggested a 4cy.
Other than these gulls, the patch was really quiet with the lack of cold weather. Just the usual suspects around, and even the Mediterranean Gull did a no show in a brief look on the lake at Burgess Park.

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