Sunday, 24 March 2013

3rd-winter and near-adult Thayer's Gull photoshoot

It's been a while since I had the time to delve into the copious amount of images of gulls from California. And while still thawing out from today's trip to Crossness (where I had an adult Little Gull and a pair of Common Scoters), here are some more images of Thayer's Gulls of ages that you don't see too many photos of. In fact, in the week long trip I only managed to photograph the one 3rd-winter bird and a couple of near adults (presumably fourth-winters).

3rd-winter Thayer's Gull
This bird was photographed at Half Moon Bay, California during the late afternoon of 22nd February 2013. Though there is a fair bit of variation in this age, this bird is what you'd deem a 'classic' - the dark, speckled iris on this bird (some birds of this age can have pale irises, just like some adults), blackish subterminal bill band and adult-type primaries.
Note the well proportioned look to this bird, typical of what would be deemed a 'classic' Thayer's Gull. Deep pink, relatively short legs and mid grey mantle (slightly darker than Herring Gull)

primary-coverts still showing signs of immaturity, with black on P5-P10 and mirrors on P9 and P10

note the pale underside to the primaries, with just P10 showing an obviously dark tongue bleeding down on the leading edge from a large white mirror, and P6-P9 all pale tipped subterminally marked by small dark bands

Near-adult Thayer's Gull
Like the age detailed above, there were very few - just a couple - of near-adult Thayer's Gulls seen all week. This bird was on the beach at Jenner on 17th February 2013. A relatively large, snouty individual it was pretty much like an adult except for the dark on the gonys.

Essentially an adult plumage wise, with a dark gonys suggesting immaturity, tepid bill colouration and perhaps the streaking on the lower nape more extensive than on an adult. Note the 'almost black' primaries extensively pale-tipped and mid grey mantle colour

Showing a fairly classic adult-type primary pattern - extensive white mirror on P10, the mirror on P9 extensive yet restricted to the inner web, P6-8 showing nice grey bayonets and just a slight dark smudge on P5. Although crinkled on this photo, also note the lack of significant black/darkness on the underside of the primaries

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