Icing on the cake

Thursday, 27th February 2014


2CY Iceland Gull at Chesil Beach, Portland - 27th February 2014

It must have been about three years ago that I really started to get interested in gulls. I announced my new project on here as (tongue in cheek) LGRE, the Large Gull Recognition Exercise. Since spending many months sorting out aberrant Herring Gulls and trying to turn them into argentatus or smithsonianus I branched out into mid and smaller sized species.

This winter, with more time available, I have been able to travel further afield to broaden my experience of several rarer species. Having seen quite a wide range of gull species already this year, Iceland Gull became my target bird to photograph. Several have been seen locally over the past week or so. Today Sean located a 2 CY (first-winter) bird close inshore off Chesil Beach near Victoria Square, Portland. I caught up with it whilst it 'performed well' there for quite some while.

I took a large number of photographs of this gull. The first I uploaded to my PC and saw on the screen was the photograph below. The bird appeared to me, so thick-set, that for a while, I wondered if I had actually photographed another bird, a Glauc.

After checking out a few more pictures it soon became clear that said bird is indeed the same bird that Sean reported, i.e. an Iceland - hence the title to this post. The Iceland Gull is the indeed the icing on the cake of my successful, educational and very rewarding gulling activity recently. I havn't missed out on this, one of the more predictable species one might hope locally, or in southern England at this time of year.


The 2CY Iceland Gull appears rather heavy and broad winged in this photo.


looks a lot daintier here!


size comparison with Black-headed Gull


I can imagine the Arctic waters.


and not a Kumlien's for once...


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