Michs, Cachs and ichs

Essex, U.K.

by Martin and Steve Arlow

all photos by Steve Arlow, Essex, 5th August 2012

Few shots of interesting and challenging seasonal gulls from SE England. Some head shots to start with. What do you make of these?



So there you go. 3 Mystery adult gull heads. What do you think? Bit mean as we would always advocate identifying a bird on all available characters not just one area- but have a go!

Adult  Caspian Gull

Fine adult Caspian Gull with lovely outer primary pattern and small ‘close’ metal ring just visible on right leg

1st summer tricky gull

Maybe a mixture? This Green rung bird shows much in favour of it being a Caspian but also something’s not quite right with it and having a Herring flavour. It was rung in Germany in a mixed colony but the details are insufficient to ID as it as nest was ‘Herring Gull (group) (Larus argententatus./cachinnans./michahellis.)


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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10 Responses to Michs, Cachs and ichs

  1. Top cach?
    middle mich
    bottom mich (atlantic?)

  2. Jan Jörgensen (JanJ) says:

    nr 1. Caspian
    nr 2. Herring?
    nr 3. Herring?
    Why Herring? Structure + bill shape. Perhaps nr 2 is a yellow-legged Herring. Orbital ring – which can be YLG red in these birds – seems to have a slight orange hue and the width in front of the eye looks less broad than usual on YLG
    Nr 3 a bit trickier, however one have som help from the slightly visible mantel colour in the lower right corner, which looks Herring pale…
    Compared to Steve´s other bird here – http://tinyurl.com/8sahdjz – the subject 2cy certainly has some physiological Herring feel to it. both are quite variable in these plumages at this time of year.
    Some Caspians here – http://www.pbase.com/slisch/cach_2cy

  3. Dean Nicholson says:

    top – cach
    next 2 both look like michs to me…notwithstanding the variability of head shape (they do quite look bulky?), red orbital ring and gape line and extensive red on gonys (just spilling onto upper mandible on bird 2?)….not sure about atalantis influence in bird 3, i have seen a couple of michs locally in the past week with streaking around the eyes and on to crown as extensive as this bird, i’m also finding iris colouring very variable in ad/sub-ad michs with most being very pale yellow unmarked like bird 2 but several appearing much darker like bird 3….
    Not sure about the tricky one, doesn’t seem to fit anything terribly well so mixed parentage would probably be not too far away?…but what do i know?…i’ve even been struggling with odd juvenile Herring/LBBs lately…maybe they were from mixed colonies too?(!)

  4. R Harris says:

    1. Casp
    2. Herring
    3. Casp

  5. Nige Lound says:

    1. Casp. Pear shaped head, dark eye and slimmish, dull coloured bill
    2. Mich. Bulky looking head, red/orange orbital ring and hefty bill with red just making it on to upper mandible
    3. Hmmm! Caspish shape to head but bill too heavy and head streaking too excessive for Casp? Red/Orange orbital ring again so may be a Mich with an unusually dark eye??

  6. Rich B says:

    Saw the same adult Caspian Gull that is photographed above at Rainham today (13th August) – http://rothandb.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/adult-casp-at-rainham-today.html

  7. Jan Jörgensen (JanJ) says:

    I see now on Steve´s site that gull nr 2 is a Yellow-legged. However, nr 3 would probably been identified as a Yelow-legged if it´s eye would have been paler. It´s not a Caspian Gull! The head shape remind more of a Yellow-legged compared to a Caspian – bulbous forehead. It might – as Steve suggest – possibly be a hybrid of some sort. Then again, we would never find out with just a head shot. Dark-eyed adults or near adults with darkish is occasionally seen LWHG
    A few here.
    4cy (January) YLG Romania:http://tinyurl.com/cfvsgbo
    Yellow-legged Gull, 5cy, B[DB]


  8. Pingback: Answer to Gull Heads | Birding Frontiers

  9. Pingback: Answer to Gull Heads | Birding Frontiers

  10. Steven Wytema says:

    I opt for
    and herring.

    I could of course point out why,.. but most correct arguments already have been told.
    bottom is a herring because of the trick question, which there always is 😉

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