Sunday, 1 August 2010

Baltic Gull

For almost a week now there has been a 2nd year 'Baltic Gull', the eastern Scandinavian race of Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus fuscus), in the Copenhagen area. I finally caught up with it at Utterslev Mose, just north of Copenhagen, on Saturday afternoon. This subspecies is very difficult to identify for certain in most age groups due to the overlap between fuscus and the very similar intermedius. However, an advanced second year bird, as shown below, exhibits several features that make this bird a fuscus. First, the moult is more advanced than on most intermedius with nearly all of the feather groups being changed. It has a very pale head and underparts, advanced moult in the wings, and even has some blackish adult-type feathers on the wing coverts. The bill is also classic fuscus with two-toned colouring including a blackish tip. Finally, the size of this bird was more reminiscent of Common Gull than Herring Gull, another good indicator. A good opportunity to get to grips with a now uncommon bird in Denmark.

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