30th November 2018 Gulls cometh

Well, it’s a sure sign there’s not much to look at or for on Beachy Head if I’ve started looking at gulls elsewhere. This morning I spent sometime in the nearby Cuckmere Valley where Matt had been enjoying some success in regards to Caspian and Yellow legged Gulls. Unfortunately I could only manage 2 Yellow legged Gulls (near adult and 3rd winter), a large adult argentatus Herring Gull and a few blackish, neat looking intermedius Lesser black backed Gulls. I went on to Beachy Head where I found it to be very quiet. Just a small band of Blue and Great Tit in the wood where the Treecreeper is still present. Shooters Bottom was very quiet.

Keeping the larid theme going, I found this handsome looking juvenile (I use that term as it appears not have moulted) “Herring Gull” at Princes Park on the 29th. Showing many features which led me to concluded it’s probably a northern argentatus type Herring with some Glaucous Gull lineage, despite suggestions it maybe a very pale argentatus Herring Gull.

What’s more intriguing (see images at the bottom of this post) is it appears to be identical and therefore the same bird, that was photographed at Radipole Lake in Dorset last week, some 120 miles to the west as the crow flys. Causing a little drama on twitter during it’s stay there with some observers believing it to be a Kumlien’s Gull.


Although the markings on coverts and mantle are Herring Gull like, lacking the intricate & delicate pattern of Glaucous Gull, the colouration of said patterns were light and “biscuit” coloured. The primary feathers also have obvious arrowhead type tips, similar to Glaucous.


Parentage aside, it’s quite a cool looking bird.


At this angle looking very white winged.


Arrowhead pattern to inner primaries


Above the secondary tips & marbled tail feathers with pale subterminal markings suggests to me some Glaucous DNA is present in this bird.


IMG_7243 copy

Above side by side comparisons from Weymouth and Eastbourne. Clearly the same bird in my opinion.




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