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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Possible American Herring Gull in Telford!

 Herring Gull showing characteristics of a possible American Herring Gull att Candles Landfill  Tip, Telford, Shropshire!

    Just got back from north Africa and yesterday afternoon I deciding to go and see if the Caspian Gull was still at Candles Landfill Tip, Telford just up road from my parents house. When I arrived, I located some 2000 gulls hanging out in the fields opposite to the tip entrance gate. They were pretty distance, but I set up scope and started scanning carefully. I immediately picked out the sub-adult Caspian Gull with 2 Yellow-legged Gull. The gulls were commuting with the field and the tip and after about 30 minutes, one of the gulls caught my eye. It was front on at first and showed solid brown underparts with a stonker of a bill. Broad black ring and pink based and tip. I had to see more and when it turned side on, I noticed it was a fraction paler than the nearby Herring Gulls. I could also see black in the tertials. All other features on the bird (see images) were all showing characteristics of an 3rd winter American Herring Gull! However, I couldn't rule out argenatus Scandinavain Herring Gull. As I was pointed out later on, they can also show all these features. Except for it being a 3rd winter and showing extensive black in the tail and the main feature, two black tertials.
  I've only ever seen three 1st winter Smiths Gulls before and lots of adults in the states. I was also in the crap, because my mobile broke while I was in Morocco! I just thought it would be safe to go out thinking that I was not going to see anythin of note. But, isn't that what happens most of the time? When you forgot something or you think, I don't need my scope today, I never see anythin anyway. And that day you do and wished you had that bloody scope at hand! It's always the way!
  Now I had to wait patiently for it to fly. That it did and 10 minutes later it was up in the air. All the time I was firing off shots, then a quick look through the bins, and back to the camera. Again everything was spot on!

  Any comments welcome.

The first sighting I had of the gull

Note the two dark tertials, the solid brown smugging on the neck and the stonker and pattern of a bill

Also note the extensive black on the tail for a 3rd winter bird

Herring Gull showing charactristics of 3rd winter American Herring Gull!

  The bird in question returned back to the tip and for the next 30 minutes I was in the tip car park, but there was no sign of it. I tried the flooded River Seven just down road, 5 Goosander! I needed someone else to see this bird, but had no way of contacting anybody. Latham was at work, when I called on his house and when I tried the gull roosts at both Prisorlee and Trench pool, there were maybe 500 gulls between the two site!

Sub-adult Caspian Gull at Candles Landfill Tip, Telford


  1. Hi Kris, how's things? Nice gulls, especially the third-winter herring type. You mention that argentatus can also show the same features, but it would have to be a pretty extreme argentatus to appear visibly paler on the upperparts than argenteus. Hope you manage to relocate it and get killer shots of the primary and tertial patterns to try and clinch it. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the info. Yeah, I hope it sticks around for everyone to see. I've got more images to go through, when I get time, that might help in some way.