This bird hasn't come back yet this winter (though it wasn't seen until 5th February last year), but it's interesting to look at this bird in the light of what I saw in Ontario, the Corvo bird in October 2011, the Adriaens & Mactavish article and then some correspondence I've been having with a Canadian guller Kevin McLaughlin. Here are some shots (the first two are mine, and I'd like to thank Tom Cuffe for the four excellent flight shots): -
|Photo 1. adult American Herring Gull, Nimmo's Pier, Galway, Ireland March 2008; note the heavy rather blotchy head and neck shawl|
|Photo 2. It was a big, bulky bird in the field; this shot shows a nice P10 mirror, with an extensive black tip and no obvious signs of a pale tongue on the inner web of this feather either (which you'd be looking for on a 'classic' Newfoundland bird)|
|Photo 3. A small mirror to P10 on this photo, as well as a subterminal black 'U' to P5|
|Photo 4. There's an obvious lack of any pale tongue to the outer primary, P10.|
|Photo 5. Another photo that illustrates the lack of a pale tongue to the underside of P10, and shows nicely the subterminal 'U' on P5.|
|Photo 6. Note the solid black to the webs of P8-P10. You'd be expecting much more extensive grey inner webs to P8 and P9 on classic Newfoundland birds.|
- the lack of a pale tongue to P10
- one mirror on P10 only
- the inner webs to the outer primaries (P8-P10) are wholly dark with no obvious grey bleeding through, which is an obvious feature of Newfoundland birds.
Compare Photo 6 with this bird I took in Ontario in December 2011: -
|Photo 7. Pretty similar in extent of black on P8 to P10 compared to the Nimmo's bird, with no grey bleeding through on the inner webs to the outer primaries|
|Photo 8. Note the similar mirror to P10 and also the similarity of the darkness extending down on P10.|
Though I'm sure some stuff about this bird has been written somewhere else on the web, perhaps this is of interest. In conclusion, this bird doesn't fit a classic Newfoundland bird (NAHG) - it doesn't exhibit that pale inner web (tongue) to P10 a la Caspian Gull - and if it hadn't been tracked throughout its life (having first turned up as a juvenile in 2004), then I imagine it would have slipped through the net.
Thanks to Kevin McLaughlin, Derek Charles and Tom Cuffe.