mandag 27. oktober 2014

Adult Caspian Gull Viksletta, Halden

Near dusk yesterday, I came across a large congregation of gulls on a flooded field at Viksletta, Halden. Well worth a try, I thought, and was rewarded with this adult caspian gull. Unfortunately I only had the phone to document it with (through a swarowski telescope), so the results are not award winning material...Note that the bill tip was covered with dirt, making the bird look like belonging to a younger age group. In the field it showed e.g plain grey primary coverts, indicating adult. Slivers of grey eating into the black in the primaries on the upper hand consolidated the id.

 White head, dark eye, greenish bill with hardly any gonys angle. Small bird, so probably female.

Females are not as extreme as males, and a small female like this has an almost common gull expression, owing to the dark eye and rounded head shape.

On this picture, you can see (on the far wing) a long white tip to P10 and a silvery white "tongue" on the inner web eating its way from the base far out towards the tip, leaving a narrow portion of the feather (inside the white tip) black. This individual has a peculiar light spot in the black.

Note how the border between the silvery white tongue and the black is almost 90 degrees. This is a strong caspian gull feature. On most herring gulls, the white tongue tapers and becomes progressively more narrow. Se cropped picture below.

søndag 19. oktober 2014

4cy Caspian gull, Fredrikstad 18th of october

This 4 cy caspian gull was present at Øra, Fredrikstad today in horrendous weather conditions. It was one of those gloomy days when daylight simply did not appear. The poor light and long range to the bird pushed me into doing something I rarely do: document something with the mobile phone. I rarely (well, never) find the outcomes satisfactory, and so was the case today as well. The pictures presented hardly give a true representation of the bird as seen in the field. The photos are flat and with little contrast, but hey - they are all I have got...

This is how it was discovered, about 300 m away. Note the long legs and how much higher it seems to stand compared to the herring gulls. Most of the difference in leg length is found above the tibia, a typical caspian feature. Note also how it seems to be compressed from the sides. Also typical of the species.
Even though the birds are soaking wet, you can see that the caspian looks purer white. The head streaking was confined to the hind-neck and neck sides.
 Not much to go on in this picture, but the dark eye, the white head and the (a little more) high-breasted appearance (than the herring gulls) are distinguishing features. Again - the poor quality of the photographs...Brown smudging of inner greater coverts and tertials, dark primary coverts, remnants of a tail band and, of course the bill are signs of immaturity. I believe 4cy to be correct.

Complete band (albeit thin on inner web) of P5 and bonus spot on outer web of P4 is well within the variation of caspian gull.
I hope the bird will become a long stayer so that better photos can be obtained. These hardly do the bird justice..

tirsdag 14. oktober 2014

1cy Caspian Gull, Øra, Fredrikstad 10th of october

This nice 1cy caspian gull was found by Asgeir Lar(u)sen just after noon at Øra, Fredrikstad the 10th of october. I left work for 20 minutes just to get some pictures of it. Please keep it a secret...

Maybe not the most classical greater coverts and inner primaries, and the bird exhibits something near maximum head streaking, but otherwise a nice caspian and the jizz simply screamed out caspian gull! Examples are the "albatross posture" adopted during (frequent) long calls and the typical aggressive antisocial/sociopatic behaviour. I think the pictures show the species characteristics pretty well...

This is the third caspian gull Asgeir has found this year, making him (I believe) the number one caspian hunter of Norway for 2014. I bet he will find more...

All pictures by SEN. Taken through dense netting which explains the ghostly blurry portions of most /all pictures...Click for larger versions