Language Translator

Thursday, 28 February 2013


2nd winter AMERICAN HERRING GULL, Morning Point, Garrison!

  The boss gave me the afternoon off and I spent a few hours with Higgo. The 3rd winter Iceland Gull showed well at Porthmellon, but the only other birds of note were over 30 Meadow Pipit at Helvear.

  For the second time, since I've returned from the mainland, I walked around part of the Garrison. Not much going on, but when I arrived at Morning Point, as usual, there were a small group of Herring Gulls. Scanning through them my eye caught a bird giving me the impression of a possible smiths gull? I thought, no, please not again! However, it got up and showed an all dark tail extending up the sides with broad heavy barring on the rump and undertail. Also, the bill was dark tipped with what I thought was pink based. Jesus! This looked very good! It made a tight circle and then started flying out to sea. I made a quick change from me bins to me camera as it flew off and landed on the long rock at the mouth of Porthcressa Bay a long ways off. I called Higgo, Big Al and Will Scott and told them that I had just found a 1st winter American Herring Gull and picked them all up in me wagon! Will called Ritchie, Tony, Ren, Martin and Joe, but only the first two could make it. As we returned to Morning Point, Will immediately relocated the gull on the rocks just off the outlet that all the rest of the gulls were feeding from. Here we observed it for a good 10 minutes before it joined the other gulls in the water. Looking through the scope you could clearly see that two-thirds of the bill had a yellow tinge to it. In the 45 minutes we were there, we got cracking views and it was re-identified as a 2nd winter AMERICAN HERRING GULL!. When I first found the smiths, I thought the plumage was a 2nd winter and when it started to fly off, it still looked like a 2nd winter. However, the dark tail and extensive heavy barring on the rump and undertail, made me think that it could be a 1st summer or an advanced 1st winter. I was told later that apparently it's unusual for a 2nd winter to still retain all these latter features at this time of the year. It was still present when we all left. Will also had the 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull at Porthloo yesterday. 






This is the first time that a 2nd winter has been recorded on Scilly. The other 6 or 7 records have all been 1st winters.

The 3rd winter Iceland Gull continues to show well at Porth Mellon

Up to 15 Redwing were at Carn Friars

Male Peregrine was seen all over the shop

Annie Clark just blows me away! I've been listening to St Vincent for a long time and she just get better and better. A hell of a songwriter and guitarest, multi-instrumentalist and shes touring the UK this August! Sometimes I wish I lived on the mainland. I recommend that you listen to her other material.


  1. I think you'll find that if you read the most up-to-date identification literature (e.g. the Dutch Birding papers), your Herring Gull is certainly a second-winter L. a. argenteus and certainly not L. smithsonianus. Why not get some opinions from more experienced birders? - it will save you much embarrassment in the future.
    All the best,
    Steve Mason

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for letting me know about the up-to-date identification literature from Dutch Birding or any other birding journel, but I don' get them. I'm just a simple birder (and not a good one at that) that's got a lot to learn and is still leaning. I'm told about identification changes a year later on the grapevine. I was still going around ticking off Mealy Redpoll as a different species to Lesser etc, when they were all lumped together again. It was some years later that I was told that they were no longer different species. Another example is 1st winter ww gulls are now called juveniles. I'm just not up-to-date.

    I always get opinions from more experienced birders than me and that's what I've done on this occasion. I also love exploring the islands and if I see something of interest, then that's a bonus and I want everyone to see it too before it's gone.

    Like yourself and others, I enjoy birding and I'm not embarrassed at all. I've leaned that there's more important things to life than birding. However, I do believe that you have stated a fair point and thank you for that.

    Good birding