juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls

on Bridlington Pelagic, 9th August 2013

Experimenting with our mini pelagics, we took another trip out last Friday.  The idea comes from the Yorkshire Coast Nature team and we will be trying further up the North Yorkshire coast too. The appeal of such trips is you just never know what might be seen. This time it was 2 juvenile Yellow -legged Gulls which headlined. These are scarce/rare this far north, with the Humber estuary normally the nearest, regular location for the species.

The environment is different, providing multiple opportunities to learn the in-flight appearance- often at ridiculously close range:


Here’s the first bird (below), picked up pre-dawn. It took me a minute or two to clock for certain tat is was YLGull. See at distance the 2 most arresting features, bright white tail and rather dark trialing edge to wing but with weak pale window. These 2 characters are what grab you at first:

mich a 2

Then it landed closer on water and variety of characters are visible- head pattern, tertials, under-tail all add confidence to the ID. This first bird appeared to have a full set of juvenile scapulars.

mich ajuvenile Yellow-legged Gull number one. Pre-dawn!

Then at some 9 miles out after fly-by Manx Shearwaters and an over the boat Bonxie, this fella (no.2) stuck with us on and off for about an hour:

mich 17Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull number two. Already showing 2nd generation scapulars– not at all normal for juvenile lesser Black-backed and Herring gulls in August

Hopefully the rest of the photos of number two give good ‘feel’ for the birds field characters and appearance (though the broken p2 isn’t one of them):

mich 19

.mich 21

.mich 20

.mich 11

.mich 12

.mich 13.mich 7

.mich 5,

mich 6.

mich 9.mich 15

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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1 Response to juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls

  1. Kris Gillam says:

    lovely birds and distinctive once you get your eye in. Had some very close views of juveniles recently on my local boating lake, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZw51oIdtTA&feature=c4-overview&list=UU-UAZd-DWPNKFsFPMIAlCWA

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