Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wknd 12-13 December

Med Gull green-3LV5 remains at Seton, on the shore mid-afternoon.
Also at Wrecked Craigs at dusk, Lucy (LBB) still present (also feeding in the harbour mid-week) and another very pale 2nd-win Herring Gull, pictured (could this be a Nelson's?!), and an imm male Peregrine did a great fly past over the harbour, flushing the gulls off the rocks. [Post-script - turns out a missed a 2nd-win Glauc seen at same spot "mid-afternoon", though I did look throo all birds there for 3rd time this wk! Still present Monday, great pics here.]

Earlier, negative again on Chiff at Ferny Ness c/p but f Stonechat still in residence, roving around the whole area and never still for more than a few seconds.

With very little wind either day also visited several sites for Tawny Owl hoping to plug atlas gaps, but again none at Woodside by Gladsmuir (NT47R), Hopetoun Monument in Garleton Hills (NT47Y) or Seton Chapel (NT47C). After several fruitless visits to some of these beginning to think they may be genuine gaps!

Also on Saturday, 32 Mutes (10 juvs) at Abbeymill Fm, Amisfield, Haddington, this time got 3 darvics (including pen JDY which nested on the Tyne nearby last spring and JPY which two winters back appeared at East Fenton, then Waughton in spring and back to East Fenton).

Two more shots of the pale "Herring Gull" follow - if indeed a "Herring" then from the bill this must be a 2nd-win though no sign of grey on mantle, which may be suggestive of an argentatus; also contra Nelson's it lacks the obvious bulk of many individuals of this hybrid combination and primaries are very dark with very little evidence of pale fringing. However google turns up presumed Nelson's with reasonably dark primaries, in Shetland and Texas but former is a dark bird overall and latter would be an American Herring cross, a different species! The lower hybrid bird on this page from Finland also has some similarities, but primaries are paler. The Nelson's versus pale argentatus theory is also discussed by Newell and Offereins. In favour of pale argentatus is their known variability, e.g. in these pale 1st-wins from Finland, and this bird is not to dissimilar to an early 2nd-win individual from Sweden in Olsen & Larsson pic #345. Based on the above, and quality of my image, it would probably be dangerous to conclude anything with confidence, but more comments very welcome!


  1. Med Gull is a favourite - check out Race Birding blog for some really nice shots. Saw the Glaucous message - was stuck in work all day.

  2. Yes, can't beat em - well, Glaucs are nice too! Had a look at that blog, and his friend's - wow, you can even read the metal ring on one image:

    and the shots I'd be pleased with are annoying referred to as "distant record shots".

    Glauc still there today (of course, not when I looked in though!) - perhaps it will winter, though last year's bird appeared precisely twice...

  3. Hi.
    Popped over from Stuart's blog. It is always of interest to see what is happening at the other end of the country. Hopefully I shall be making a trip to Scotland in the New Year.