Winter Birding: Kumlien's or Iceland ?

1st Winter Kumlien's Gull Identification:

Bray Harbour in my home of Co. Wicklow, Ireland is one of best sites for gulling in the county with over 15 races of gull being recorded. As it is with winter the white-wingers (Iceland & Glaucous) are everyone's goal and throughout the winter of 2016-17 both species along with the return Ring-billed Gull had all been recorded, however on one of my visits to Bray I came across a gull sp which at first struck me as a 1st winter Iceland Gull (L.g.glaucoides), loafing about with the Herrings. The appeared bleached which would have been due to its spring moult and as the days went on it started to show extremely well and come to bread which lead to me being able to extract a series of shots in the field to study more when I headed back to base; after looking at a number of features the idea that this individual could infact be a candidate for a NE Canadian race of Iceland Gull kumlieni, started to become more & more realistic due to the following features:

"British" Herring Gull (L.a.argenteus) chasing the 1st winter Kumlien's Gull
(L.g.kumlieni) - Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff


Key Features:

  • Complete solid black bill for the time of the year, not uncommon in Iceland Gull but this was very stricking and seemed thick at times.
1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

  • Grey wash to the tail band, marked like that of Kumlien's Gull I have seen on North American Gulling sites and images had been sent to assist with this birds ID.

1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

  • Brown wash to the inner primaries, slightly flowing into the outer primaries but not as evident as in most 'Clear cut' Kumlien's! But that's the thing with gulls, nothing is clear cut about them. Many Iceland Gull have dark flowing through the primaries but these birds are rarely recorded in Ireland. There are large numbers of these 'Dark phase' Iceland Gull wintering in Iceland and many truly resemble that of a Kumlien's Gull all the way into there Adult years!
1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

  • At times this bird showed a dark wash all over at distance which altered depending on light and just looked spot on for a Kumlien's candidate. With  thoughts from many on its race I am happy to call this a 'Kumlieni' type bird.

1st winter Kumlien's Gull (L.g.kumlieni)
Bray Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland - Image Cian Cardiff

I think it is safe to say this is one of the hardest birds I've had the good fortune to work on under these terms of identification. Lots of work went into it and many thanks for all involved.

This just proves never stop asking questions even if people don't believe your thoughts!

#Discover #AskQuestions #LearnFromMistakes


Kind regards,
Cian.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Winter Birding: Snow Buntings

Spring Birding: Opening to Flava & Channel Wagtail

Winter Birding: 1st winter Scandinavian Herring Gulls