Sunday, 15 November 2009

Stubbers Green - Caspian Gull

A virtually birdless Venus Pool and the regular Wrekin Firecrest 'no show' for photocall was all the stimulus I needed to look elsewhere!

Stubbers Green was on my mind again - one of the Midlands Caspian Gulls had shown there the previous day! Sundays are notorious however for disappearing acts - with tip activity non-existent. Fingers crossed I was on my way.....

There weren't many large Gulls amongst the 200 or so Black heads but there was one striking beady eyed character - yes, at the second attempt 3rd winter Caspian Gull! I was onto it as it waded out of the water - difficult light though for pictures - looking into the low winter sunlight! Nevertheless, I'm trying to get all of these tricky Gulls into my head and tried to capture the main identification and age pointers....

Must have been a good Saturday night - most of the time was spent sleeping something off! Note the very narrow white tips to the primaries.

The beady eye and long dirty greenish yellow bill - typical subadult pattern with smudgy black band rather than a red spot near the tip....

Check out the Herring Gull in the foreground to compare the very pale fleshy coloured legs of the Caspian as opposed to the 'pinker' hue of Herring - they were also noticeably longer.

A couple of wingflaps to give a good view of the upperwing. Clearly not quite full adult plumage with traces of dark brown in the coverts. The presence of distinct mirrors on both p10 and p9 primaries is usually confined to full adult birds. Typical 3rd winter would have a mirror on just p10 but all these features are general progression.

These images took nearly three hours to get! With an icy wind blowing, I was mightily relieved when I eventually got a chance of a flight shot!

A final landing over in the far corner....

And back into the warmth of the car for me - phew!! Hmm, a Shropshire Caspian would be nice!


  1. Great photo of the landing.

  2. Good photographs, not always easy to capture that!