Saturday, 3 March 2012

Dover Kumlien's

I'd been meaning to get down to Dover for a while, ever since I was emailed the finder's photos of this 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull a few weeks ago. At that time, I was pretty quick to email through my views that it was a pretty solid looking 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull. So, with a nice neutral day of light (important for looking at the subtleties of this subspecies/cline), I headed down with Karen to get some first hand experience of this bird. Needless to say, in doing so, drove straight past perhaps one of the rarest birds in the country at the moment (??!!), a Hooded Merganser.

Anyway, back to the gull. Upon arriving in Dover - which in fairness to the place is attempting a bit of a face lift - it didn't take too long to find the bird. It was first of all chilling out on the slipway by the hoverpad before deciding to cruise above the Prince of Wales pier with Herring Gulls and a few nice Kittiwakes.

I'd not really seen a Kumlien's Gull like this previously, and if I'm brutally honest, it felt very Herring-like in its proportions; perhaps a good thing compared to a lot of the Iceland-like Kumlien's Gulls I've seen previously. Additionally, it displayed a very obvious tail and mirrors were apparent in P6-P10 (with an obvious ghosting of a mirror in P10). What was also very interesting was the rather dark adult-type mantle feathering that was moulting through, far darker than what you'd expect on nominate glaucoides Iceland Gulls, and perhaps even a Kumlien's Gull...

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