Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Kumlien's Gull....maybe!

Hello

Most of today was taken up completing the WeBs count at Ditchford Gravel Pits.  The conditions under foot were very, very muddy!  Good numbers of birds were present west of Ditchford Lane including hundreds of big gulls moving between the flooded pits and the nearby landfill. 
 
An interesting individual juvenile was located amongst Herring Gulls in the field immediately east of the Viaduct Pit which superficially resembled a Kumlien's Gull.  The size and structure was similar to Iceland Gull and the general colouration and patterning was similar to a juvenile Iceland.  The primary tips were not white at all but biscuit coloured with the subtle shadowing and were classic Kumlien's.  However, we dismissed the bird as a hybrid-type bird as the bill was all dark and possibly a touch long.  However subsequent research suggests that juveniles can display all dark bills and plenty of on-line images of birds apparently depicting Kumlien's closely resemble this bird.  This bird was rather distant; it is hoped that this bird might be seen again at closer range and that an identification might be clinched.

Kumlien's Gull is generally treated as a race or form of Iceland Gull, but potentially could be a New World inter-grade between Iceland and Thayer's Gull.

Other birds seen west of Ditchford Lane include the drake Scaup on the Watersports Pit, two mobile Great White Egrets, five Little Egrets, two Egyptian Geese, two adult Peregrines and a Green Sandpiper.  Other birds present on the overall complex included an apparent influx of ten Chiffchaffs, two Kingfishers, four Grey Wagtails, two drake Smew (Skew Bridge Pit), two Goosanders, a Water Rail and three Cetti's Warblers.

A Brambling was flying around our garden at Hanging Houghton this morning.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil
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