Interesting Iceland Gull at Bridlington

1st winter glaucoides/kumlieni

by Martin

Lovely weekend with my family in Bridlington, East Yorkshire with no real expectation of much birding- just walks, board games and time together. Visiting Bridlington harbour with Mrs G. yesterday (13th Jan) we walked down the slipway onto south beach and I took a moment to watch and photograph some Purple Sandpipers. Turning to join Sharon I walked straight into this 1st winter Iceland Gull.

Interesting Iceland Gull  a Brid. 13.1.13

Notably it has the kind of wing-tip pattern at rest which, in the 1990’s, I would have called a Kumliens’ Gull – with a plain brown wash over the centre of the outer primaries. I am more cautious now. The ideal pattern is of the outer 5+ primaries with dark outer webs and pale inner webs and a dark ‘hook-back’ at the wing-tips. These outer primaries contrast with less well marked paler inner primaries. A ghost pattern of 1st winter Thayer’s Gull. This bird hasn’t got that.  It does however also have a very plain tail pattern (hardly any internal markings) and appears to have moulted some upper mantle and scapular feathers- not easy to tell on these paler feathers. Plainer tail and earlier moult can be kumlieni characters.

Interesting Iceland Gull  b Brid. 13.1.13

So I don’t know. It could be a Kumlien’s Gull. For me it’s the uncertain zone at present. We need to learn more about both glaucoides and kumlieni. But if you are in the area, I think an interesting bird to see. Apparently it has been around on this stretch of coast for a little while- though others will know more?

Interesting Iceland Gull  d Brid. 13.1.13

and the Purple Sandpipers are lovely!

Purple Sand Brid 13.1.13


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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4 Responses to Interesting Iceland Gull at Bridlington

  1. Trevor Lee says:

    Hi Martin,

    Nice shots ! I spent a lot of time in the 90s and early 00s along that stretch of coast predominantly looking for White Wingers , I remember seeing loads like this and they were always presumed Kumliens , however I didn’t buy into this because I was finding them all along the coast and figured they can’t all be Kumliens ? My own thoughts and observations were that Icelands at the darker end of the scale almost always showed darker primaries and that the paler birds didn’t , I know this is probably not scientifically correct these days but it seemed to work at the time .
    Anyway keep up the good work , fascinating stuff !


  2. Pingback: All White? | hullvalley

  3. Pingback: juvenile/1st winter Iceland and Kumlien’s Gull Identification | Birding Frontiers

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