Friday, 3 February 2012

Marsh gull?

Last night, one of my mates Lee Gregory emailed me a couple of shots of an interesting looking, dark mantled and bubblegum pink-legged Herring-type Gull he'd seen at his local roost. Not that I could tell him much he didn't know anyway (as he's one of the best, most understated birders I know) - I'd never seen Vega Gull, and he'd done all the homework already.

Anyway, a feature that Lee's bird showed was an obvious reddish orbital ring. Have a look at this adult Herring Gull that was ringed on the tip on the tip on 14th January, and I'd previously mentioned I'd do a quick post on it. Presumably it emanates from a Baltic population - it was relatively dark mantled with a pretty prominent red/orange eye ring. The wing tip pattern is between argentatus and argenteus.
Note the obviously bright orbital ring

Obvious white tip to P10 like an argentatus; dark notch to the outer web of P5 that you'd expect on an argenteus

Again, the obvious red/orange orbital ring visible here

Be interesting to see where YJ1T turns up; look at the obviously pink legs
It's either a hybrid (presumably a back cross) or its a bird from the omissus zone in southern Sweden - apparently these birds can either have pink or yellow legs, as over time plenty of argentatus genes have infiltrated into the former subspecies omissus. Paul Roper was sufficiently interested in this bird that a colour ring was whacked on it, in the hope that a ringing recovery may shed further light.... interesting stuff.

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