Monday, 11 January 2016

Pennington Flash

A walk around the flash this afternoon produced a couple more year ticks in the form of a singing Cetti's warbler in Ramsdales reedbed and a willow tit from the Bunting Hide. Also 17 goosanders from Teal hide, 10 goldeneye in the East bay and 110 Tufted duck in Ramsdales with two pochard. I didn't stay until dusk for the gull roost, but I did spend an hour looking through the pre-roost in the East bay. There were a few interesting gulls ready to trip up the unwary (i.e. me!). Thanks to Pete Kinsella for helping me with these birds.

Year: 111 (Willow tit, Cetti's warbler)

Adult Scandinavian 'argentatus' herring gull

My initial reaction on seeing this bird was that it was an adult yellow-legged gull. It's mantle is clearly darker than the nearby British 'argenteus' herring gulls, it has a very red gony and a very white head and neck compared to other nearby herring gulls. However the back of the neck is a little streaked, perhaps too much for yellow-legged gull, and there is a white line on P10 which yellow-legged gull rarely has. Finally P5 is missing a black border. Yellow-legged gull would show this.

1st winter Scandinavian 'argentatus' herring gull

This bird really grabbed my attention! It had a very pear shaped head, an apparently long bill and it swam in a very front heavy way as if it was about to tip forward at any minute. I knew that Caspian gull should have a white head at this time of year, but I didn't know enough about the species variation.  However, it turns out that this is another argentatus herring gull. This race of herring gull can look very juvenile like well into it's 1st winter, as this bird does.

British 'argenteus' herring gulls

Finally two photos of birds which are argenteus herring gulls. The first has a very white head reminiscent of yellow-legged gull, the second is a huge bird about the size of an argentatus herring gull. However neither have dark enough mantles to be yellow-legged gull or argentatus herring gull.

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