Saturday, 24 March 2012

Kumlien's Gull - too hot to handle?

Last Saturday, I headed to Rainham to see the 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull that had been frequenting the tip and adjacent River Thames. Then during the week (on 19th and 22nd) this bird transferred itself to Beddington. So it was a real surprise that at 12.10pm today that I picked up a 'white-winged gull' crusing over us all at Pitsea tip while we were waiting to take a second catch. Within seconds, when it decided to bank and drop, it was obvious it was the same Kumlien's Gull that had been hanging around the London area (as the dock off tail band and primary patterning is a real giveaway): -

Pretty chuffed with things, as everyone managed to get onto it pretty quickly, the excitement started to reach fever pitch. The compactors had started to slow down on the main tip, so there was a feeding frenzy in the trapping area. And then, as if by magic, this northern beauty decided to take a sneaky peak. With some skilful cannon netting, this 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull can now hopefully be tracked conclusively with its new bling: -
This was apparently the first white-winged gull that the NTGG had ever caught, so there was inevitably some rather good feeling around. Is this also the first ever kumlieni to be ringed in Britain? The bird itself was remarkably docile, and was quickly processed as the weather was rather warm to keep birds for too long. So here is what this bird looked like up close and personal: -
pretty pale eyed; very little dark flecking

birders who saw this individual at Rainham commented on the obvious retained, darker greater-coverts - still noticeable in the hand

A lovely tail band

Grey feathering appearing on the mantle

Note the dark outer webs, especially to P7-10; also this shot illustrates the transluscent ghost mirror coming through on P10

1 comment: