Sunday 8 January 2012

White-winged Gull festival

A major arrival of white-winged gulls occurred on 5 January. Over the course of this and the following day, 8 Glaucous and 7 Iceland Gulls were present at Fraserburgh and Peterhead (totals combining both sites). This post shows many of these birds - the images are not all great, but at least they record a reasonable selection of the individuals that were present.

Notice the ticks on the Glaucous above. Virtually all of the birds carried these passengers - in fact we used the number and distribution of ticks to help distinguish between some of the more similar individuals. I've seen these ticks on white wingers in previous years.

Same Glaucous as above

A different bird

A different (rather dark) individual - this one appeared briefly at Peterhead

A pale (ish) bird from Fraserburgh

In the fish skip

Same bird as the image above

Two second winter birds were present at Peterhead

Same bird as above

The second individual - rather tatty

The tatty bird.

This beautiful ghostly Iceland Gull appeared at Fraserburgh on 7th; it is not quite fully adult

The same bird. Some light fawn stippling on the primary coverts and along the basal half of the outer webs of some of the outer primaries; the stippling faded out, leaving the outer parts of the primaries pure white.

A second winter Iceland from Peterhead (close views revealed a pale eye, while the bill was extensively bright pink, including a pale tip).

And the long-staying first winter bird was present along the Phingask shoreline.


Gavin Haig said...

Some cracking birds there. I hope a few from this influx have the good grace to head down our way in the coming weeks!

Barry Stewart said...

You know I'm a bit of a pedant when it comes to invertebrates ;) and I'm wondering if the ticks aren't in fact feather lice? If the they are, then I think they can be quite mobile, which could have a bearing on comparing portraits.
And I though we were doing well with 5 Icelands in the bay! Cheers, Baz

Chris Gibbins said...

Hi Baz. Sorry, yes, i should have said lice. Interesting what you say about their mobility. The comparisons were between birds only a few minutes and max of 2 hrs apart, and we used number and distribution of lice (i.e. we are not talking about comparisons of birds seen days/weeks apart). Sorry if my initial commentary was unclear about this. Over what timescales are they mobile...would be intersting to know, for future reference...

Barry Stewart said...

Next time I catch a louse-ridden bird I'll give a few a prod and let you know how fast they move! I suspect not very fast, so I'm sure over the periods you're talking about your technique will be pretty valid.

Chris Gibbins said...

Hey Baz. I look forward to results from your lice prodding antics :)


Anonymous said...

Hello Chris,
Very nice pics of this unprecendented (?) influx of white-winged gulls. Even in The Netherlands, birds have arrived. Last weekend I saw three Iceland Gulls, two of them had dark markings on the outer primaries. General opinions, despite the terrible quality of the pictures, is that the dark second winter is a dark glaucoides, and the light bird is indeed a kumlieni. My question to you and everyone else with an opinion on these birds: what are your thoughts on "my" birds? Pics can be found on my website Any comment would be highly appreciated! Cheers, Martijn Bot (Zuidhorn (The Netherlands)