Wednesday, 27 January 2016

2nd-winter Slaty-backed Gulls

Here are a few photos of 2nd-winter Slaty-backed Gulls from Japan last month - all taken at various sites along the Hokkaido coast from 25th to 31st December 2015. Just like my post on 1st-winters last week, they're not a precise science with a bewildering variation of structure and moult. However, here are a few common features noted: -
- uniformly dark tail with dark tips to all feathers (outertail feathers unmarked internally at tip)
- largely unmarked, pale rump
- smudged, uniform greater-coverts and upperwing-coverts dark centred and lacking internal markings
- apparent to very obvious inner primary window in flight
- bulbous bill, in most cases pink at the base with subterminal dark band bleeding in towards tip
- obviously pink legs
- pale iris in most cases

Anyway, I'll let the photos do the work here but this age, in particular, felt pretty robust and brutish. I suspect that seeing one of these out of context, in Europe for example, for the trained guller would get the heart going pretty quickly...

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