Gulls, Gulls, Gulls.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yesterday lunchtime some inconsiderate dogwalkers decided that they would investigate the attentuation ponds.  This meant that the gulls that normally loaf there on low tide flew off.  They then settled on my side of the Thames, especially for my delectation.  Which meant that I had a flock of lovely gulls, right in front of me for an hour.  Six species, possible subspecies and lots of juveniles and things.  Abso-bloody-lutely brilliant.
There was Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser and Greater Black Backed and Yellow Legged.
So far so good, but then once they have a good bit of looking done, there are differences within the species.  Yum.  So there was 2 Yellow legged, but one was smallish and one a bit meaty (see below).  The Herring Gulls obviously are all over the place at this time of year but the most interesting thing was the LBB's.  There were two or three with a consistent mantle colour and then a third, which looked a bit nastier and had a much darker mantle and it could well have been an intermedius.  It certainly wasn't as black as a fuscus might be, but much darker than the nearby graellsii.  The picture below doesn't really to the difference justice.  Hopefully it will be there again today and I can have another look.

Yellow Legged Gull doing standing on something.
Great Black Backed doing 'boss'.

Two Lesser Black Backed Gulls doing differing mantles.
At the end of the month I am hoping to get the big Helm gull book, which I suspect is only going to raise more questions than it answers (which is nice).  I just hope to god that there is not a subspecies of Black-headed gull that I didn' know about.

For those that are interested, there is evidently a cracking paper on Caspian Gulls in the recently published 2006 London Bird Report.

That's enough gullage from me I reckon.  For a few hours anyway...


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