Thursday 18 December 2008

A selection of 1 cy Thayer's Gulls, Half Moon Bay, California, 14 Dec 28

This post shows a selection of subtly different Thayer's Gulls. Some show the accepted phenotypic characters of this taxon, but others (e.g. the second bird) would be rather difficult to identify with 100% confidence out of range.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Half Moon Bay, California (13 December)

Peregrine Falcon. This bird spooked the gulls and actually took a California Gull...

Peregrine, with its prize

Ring-tailed 'Marsh Hawk'

Mew Gull

California Gull (2 cy)

California Gull (2 cy)

Western Gull (adult)

Mew Gull (1 cy). A real cracker

Glaucous Winged Gull

California Gull

Monday 3 November 2008

Iceland and other gulls from Peterhead, Sunday 2 November

Adult Iceland Gull. Present for an hour or so in the morning, but unfortunately not really giving the best photo opportunities.

L.a.argentatus. Good numbers of 'argies' seem to have arrived following the recent cold weather

Another 'argy'. Local herring gulls (argenteus) mostly completed primary moult but argentatus, like this one, have still 1-3 old primaries remaining.

L.a.argentatus. Catching fish from seals on water surface

L.a. argentatus. P10 & 9 regrowing

Unusual to see gannets in the harbour

Light was nice for photos of common birds, so I took the chance to get some flight shots of Black-headed Gulls
Herring Gull, probably argentatus

Herring Gull, same bird as above

1 cy Herring Gull

Sunday 12 October 2008

Various birds from Catalonia, NE Spain, Winter-Spring 2008

Hoopoe. This very confiding bird was photographed at Vilanova i la Geltru, January 2008
Sardinian Warbler. 'Pished' out at Vilanova i la Geltru, January 2008
Spoonbill, Llobregat Delta, January 2008
Stonechat, Campredo, January 2008
Black Vulture, Montsec region of the Pyreness, April 2008

A selection of Audouin's Gulls from Catalonia, NE Spain

These birds were all photographed on or around the Ebro Delta. Photos were taken at various times between July 2005 and April 2008.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

A selection of odd, interesting and nice birds from Romania (September 2008)

I struggled to identify this very interesting bird. Its extensive covert moult is unusual in cachinnans at this time (mid September) and the jizz is not immediately obvious as belonging to this species. Note that the bill is heavy-ended, very atypical of cachinnans. However, it gave the long call of a cachinnans! In mid-winter this bird would probably go unnoticed in a flock of heuglini in the Middle-east. An important unresolved question is how much reliance can be placed on call: what do hybrid cachinnans x michahellis or cachinnans x argentatus sound like? [My thanks to Ruud Altenburg and Hannu Koskinen for discussion about this bird]

A slightly odd bird, presumably michahellis, Mamaia. This bird (shown in flight below) does not quite match the textbook michahellis; e.g. its tertials show a rather complicated pattern of white on the distal third of each feather and its greater coverts show a pattern rather intermediate between classic michahellis and cachinnans. Also note that the inner primaries are somewhat paler than on many michahellis. On balance it is most likely just a michahellis, bearing in mind how variable this species is. [My thanks to Ruud Altenburg and Hannu Koskinen for comments on this bird.]Presumed michahellis, Mamaia. Same bird as shown above.

1 cy Little Gull, Mamaia. Some incredibly approachable and photogenic individuals present on a small lagoon.

Red-necked Phalarope, Vadu. Pictured here defending a patch of water from another individual.

1 cy Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis. A fairly typical individual.

Monday 6 October 2008

Some adult Caspian Gulls (Larus cachinnans), Romania, September 2008

These birds were all photographed on the beach at Mamaia, north of Constanta on the Black Sea coast of Romania (12-20 September).