Yesterday's Gull - an expert's opinion

Thursday, 30th January 2014

the gull in question - a further photo

Lou Salomon, (a gull identification expert from Stuttgart), has kindly provided the following comments with respect to the gull at Radipole which features in my blog entry for yesterday. These are based on the three photographs featured there. I quote him verbatim in italics but have split the entry up for easier reading. My question was: "Is the bird on the right likely to be L.a. argentatus or an unusually dark argenteus?". He has replied:

"primary pattern is well in line with argenteus but there are two other things apart from the darker shade of mantle which are odd for herring (i.e. L.a. argenteus) gull: 

the bright red orbital and the gonys spot bleading into upper mandible. this may be a hint that the bird has some LBBG genes.

on the other hand i'd expect some more similarities with a lesser-black back: longer wings, some black on p5 and a yellowish tingue to legs.

hybrids might show a broader white tertial crescent and this does not. so it might just be a darker herring gull. some nominate tatus have bright red orbitals."

So that's about as much I could hope for or expect. Talk about a mixup of features on this bird. I always knew it would be a challenge but never expected gull identification to be this complex.

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