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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Damn! It wasn't a smiths after all!

3rd winter European Herring Gull Larus argentatus at Candles Landfill Tip, Telford

  Well I expect a lot of you already know that the possible American Herring Gull at Telford that I observed two days ago, has correctly been identified as a 3rd winter European Herring Gull.  I like to thank the experts for their quick response, particular Tom Lowe who took the time to contact a few of them.

 Here is the reason why it's a European Herring Gull and not a yank!

This is from Peter Adriaens

The shawl on this bird is impressive indeed, but in itself is no proof of a Nearctic origin.
I have attached a photo of a (4th winter) argenteus from Belgium, with an equally impressive shawl.
Also, birds with such shawls are rather regular in Iceland, where this character is inherited through hybridisation with Glaucous Gull.

There are a few things in your bird that look a bit off to me for American Herring Gull:
- The greater coverts show thin brown barring.
- The distal parts of the tertials show barring.
- The pattern of the secondaries, with vague brown markings on the outers, looks unusual for AHG.
- The pattern on P5 is asymmetrical, with more black on the outer than inner web.

In addition, though I cannot be too sure from these photos, it looks as if the black pattern on tail feathers is not entirely solid, especially on the central feathers.
In 3w smiths, the pattern is usually more square, solid and regular, as if painted with ink.

In conclusion, I would identify your bird as a European Herring Gull.

Third winter is a tricky plumage. Last winter, this bird was reported as a possible American HG in the Netherlands:
However, it was shown to be a European HG when its DNA was examined.

  Never mind! I think I'll just stick to The Smiths, Smiths Crisps, Smiths Clocks and WH Smiths!

A cracking song by Richard ashcroft from his album 'Alone With Everybody' The album reached number 1 and received platinum status in the UK. Album reviews were generally positive It's just ashame that EMI took the main video to the song off Youtube. Richard Paul Ashcroft is an English musician, singer and songwriter. He was the lead singer and occasional guitarist of alternative rock band The Verve from their formation in 1990 until their split in 1999, and continues as a lead vocalist working with guitars and keyboards. He became a successful solo artist in his own right, releasing three UK top three solo albums. Ashcroft then founded a new band, RPA & The United Nations of Sound, and released a new album on 19 July 2010.

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