torsdag 29. november 2012

Herring Gull

Herring Gull 25.10.2012, Bjørvika, Oslo
Edit: Later ringed at Aker Brygge 26.01.2013

søndag 25. november 2012

More michalike!

Well, took some really distant photos in Bjørvika yesterday. This bird showed up in a few of them last night. Looks kind of like a mich, but.... is really long distance. White window in P10 only, thin black marking on P5, a bit long tongue on P7...

torsdag 6. september 2012

Common Gulls

Another failed search for Med Gull today. Some Common Gulls:

Dark 1cy moulting into first-winter
Appeared long-winged

tirsdag 4. september 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Oslo - Finland - Oslo

24. July I managed to successfully read a Norwegian metalring on a LBBG at Langvannet. Got back the recoveries last week, and read through the list. The gull was ringed in 2008 on Alv in Oslo, and only had one recovery before I read it on Langvannet. Only thing, this was in Finland! 27. May last year the intermedius gull was seen on a dump in Finland. Most likely caught in a canon-nett, but it could have been read in field. Anyhow, last year this gull was 3cy, meaning that it had gone one summer (as 2cy) together with the other 2cy LBBG  in south Europe or Africa (or some other place). Than as 3cy it flew north and ended up in Finland. After this it is likely that it flew south to Africa or south Europe (or some other place), before flying north to Oslo and ending up on Langvannet with the Lesser Black-backed here (as a 4cy) (I almost manage to read it in April, but was missing a few digits). In April I wasn't looking that closely on the LBBG, so I don't know if any of them where fuscus than. There will be a next year!

Together with all the dark and bright looking LBBG on Langvannet in end of the metalring-bird-period this is a really interesting recovery. It means that fuscus gulls from Finland can end up in Oslo. Yet we don't have any proves that this have ever happened (at least not as I know of), but it have to be possible.

fredag 31. august 2012

Herring Gull

The 23. I walked through Middelalderparken early morning to watch gulls and geeses (mainly gulls). Found some gulls; one that looks similar to the one in the last post, but only very bad photos from the 23.). Another was a Herring, but...
A lot of moult going on in scapulars. 

Doesn't look good for this one...

søndag 26. august 2012

1cy Lesser Black-backed Gull

A long time since last time I saw a LBBG with this amount of white on its belly. Made me think about cach for quite a long time actually... Of course there are not many thinks fitting with cach today, but it was a different story yesterday ;)
Lesser Black-backed Gull, Bispevika/Middelalderparken 25.08 

Tailpattern fits good with Caspian, but even better with LBBG
This bird actually shows a window in primaries, not very normal
for a LBBG, but some individuals have it.

torsdag 23. august 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull: graelsii

No photos are edited. All birds are really good graelsii-candidates, and all are different individuals, if nothing else is stated... Any comments?
Kuba, Akerselva, 7.8
Langvannet, 11.8
Same as below
Langvannet, 11.8
Same as above, argentatus in background
Langvannet, 8.8
Langvannet, 1.8
Spot on neck is dirt
Langvannet, 1.8
Same as above. Bird to the right!
Langvannet, 8.8
Langvannet, 8.8
Langvannet, 1.8
Langvannet, 1.8
Really bad comparison-photo. Probable fuscus behind.
Same as above. Together with the same fuscus as above.
Really interesting with all of these graelsii-type gulls at Langvannet in the start of August. Now, late August, there are still a lot of gulls at Langvannet, but mostly 1cy. As a result, almost all the fuscus/graelsii gulls have disappeared. I have seen one fuscus (maybe a few more) and one graelsii bird since mid August.

Are the birds above migrant heading south already? And migrating through Oslo?

lørdag 18. august 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull: fuscus

Below there will be a lot of examples of birds from Langvannet (and a couple from Oslo) mostly fuscus-like, but also some intermedius.
Langvannet, 08. August
This bird hasn't changed any of it's primaries (that we can see),
so we have nothing to compare the upperwing color with.
Still it may turn out a bit bright compared with a real fuscus.
Langvannet, 08. August
(The bird from above in foreground)
Looks almost exactly the same as above bird on upperwing, but...
...Look at primaries: This one have changed them all (although
they looks quite brown close to the body),
at the same time there are a lot of brown feathers
in upperwing. Do they get as worned as this, or is this
bird a 5cy-ich dark intermedius/bright fuscus?
Langvannet, 12. August
What are the new feathers in this wing? Think I see both
dark fuscus feathers, and light intermedius feathers...
Also the bird has changed 8 primaries (2 to go), something
that fit very well into the two colorringed birds at Langvannet.
Langvannet, 12. August
Dark and long-winged bird. Changed all the primaries I can
see. Tertials don't look as good for fuscus maybe, but it
could be the light. Absolutely a good candidate. The new
feathers in wing looks like they are darker then the rest.
Langvannet, 12. August
intermedius-bird. New feathers in wing clearly brighter then
the rest of it, and clearly brighter than the wingtip.
Langvannet, 12. August
A good-looking bird which was seen briefly. Adult looking.
Really dark upperwing, but again, is it the light?
Langvannet, 30. July
At long range this doesn't look that good, but seen up close
you see 4 old primaries remaining, and dark on bright in wing.
Looks really athletic, both on photo and live. Same bird that
was used to illustrate lights importance in last post.
Langvannet, 12. August
Another fine intermedius. Wingtip may look like
the bird on image number 2 when wing is closed...
Langvannet, 12. August
Looks good at the beginning, but scary light and what
appear to be a large window on P10 makes me wonder.
This bird is quite easy to recognize, so I have many pictures
in different settings. Can still not say anything about ssp
Large dark-eyed LBBG. Ssp. intermedius
Kuba, Akerselva
Dark-looking and long-winged. When I lighten it I think
I see new brighter feathers, together large white spot on P10.
Makes this bird unidentified.
Kuba, Akerselva
The new feathers looks dark on this bird. Still looks a little
short-winged and heavily built. 
Ankerbrua, Akerselva
Looks really good for fuscus. Dark upperwing and small
white window on P10. Small head.
Just to show upperwing on a 3cy intermedius.
Short legs, small rounded head, and appears long-winged.
Still upperwing color makes it an intermedius. Interesting
bird anyway.
So many good-looking bird at Langvannet (and some in Oslo), and statistics says that it has to be more than the two colorringed birds at Langvannet of ssp fuscus. Still this is a so difficult subspecie to identify! Be careful, and only identify extremely typical birds (preferably with colorring).

Some thoughts at the end of the fuscus bit. Since these bird are hard (impossible) to identify safely, nobody actually tries. Therefore we know very little about their migration routes. We actually don't know where they winter. There are very few recoveries in winter areas of dark winged bird (fuscus). Therefore they probably have a different wintering area than intermedius, which have a lot of winter recoveries.

Will post photos of graelsii-type birds later...

tirsdag 14. august 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull: fuscus intro

How to separate fuscus and intermedius?

Okay. Finally I have started writing about fuscus gulls. So many gulls at Langvannet, and new individuals every day, so it has taken some time to get an overview of the different birds. I will in this post write mainly about the colorringed gulls from Nordland and how to separate them from intermedius, but will come back with rest of the fuscus-birds in a later post, and set them side by side to intermedius gulls. I have also been on the watch-out for graelsii. Have photos of far more graelsii-type birds than I have written about other places, so will probably make a post about them as well at the end.

So, lets start with the biggest problem when taking photos of Black-blacked gulls. The color on their backs changes with the light. Under you see the same individual one second apart.
J0LN (fuscus), from Sømna, in shadow
J0LN, in sun, one second later
In shadow the upperside appears dark and plain. In the sun on the other hand one can see that it actually have both old, worned feathers and new fresh ones.

Another individual, without ring on its leg. Even in the same light with the same settings on the camera, only a slight turn of its body can completely change the colors appearance.
This absolutely have to be taken into account when ID a fuscus outside its breading range. The darkness itself that is showed on photos can't be used as a characteristics by its own. Therefor we have to look for other clues.

To get a better grip on what to look for I have studied the two colorringed birds.
J1MU in flight
When we know the age they are quite easy. A 2. summer intermedius or graelsii would not have looked like this, and since both birds are ringed as young in Sømna, Nordland, Norway in 2010, it makes it a lot easier.

But, other birds in the field don't have an age-tag on them. So how can we separate 2. summer (3cy) fuscus and 3. summer intermedius (4cy)? I don't have the answer to that one, so I have tried to identify the subspecie before saying anything about the age.

Both J0LN and J1MU are quite advanced compared to literature. J1MU seems to have almost all black upperparts and 6 new primaries (Or are all of them changed? Looks different in flight and on ground). J0LN on the other hand have more brown feathers on upperpart, but have moulted 7 primaries. When you look at J0LN on the ground you will sometimes mistake it to be intermedius because of what looks like a lighter colored upperwing. Something that in fact are older, worned featers. Therefor, when trying to determine the upperwing color on subadult LBBG look after the new feathers!
JK9A, Vaterland 07.08
JK9A, Vaterland 14.05
This bird appears quite dark and fuscus like on my photo, but on Carsten Lomes ringing photo you can clearly see that it in fact is an intermedius. The bird was ringed in mid May, so it was probably much fresher then. If you look closely on my photo you can see the feature I am trying to get to... Have you spotted it yet?

Let me show you. Below I have compared JK9A (intermedius) and J0LN (fuscus)
(Have tried to make the two birds as similar exposed as possible)
Many people would have sad that there are no differences between the two birds. Well, there is, but they are  hard to spot. First of all JK9A is an adult bird, while J0LN is only subad. You can see that JK9A have moulted all primaries to adult feathers. J0LN have three feathers left. JK9A have a large window on P10, not something you want from your fuscus (even adult birds). J0LN also looks slightly longer-winged than JK9A. Looking at details in the wing, I find something interesting; J0LN seems to have old, brown feathers contrasting to darker new feathers, while JK9A have old, brown feathers and lighter new feathers. JK9A appears dark-winged with some paler spots, while J0LN appears pale-winged with some darker spots.


What can we say about fuscus vs intermedius by this?

An really long and elegant LBBG with dark upperside should get you start thinking and look for other characteristics. Lesser Black-backed Gull ssp. fuscus seems to often have only one small window on P10. Intermedius on the other hand often have a large window on even P9. The upperwing of fuscus in summer often has darker, new feathers in the wing, while intermedius has lighter, new feathers.

Still this is two subspecies that are incredibly similar, and only the most typical individuals or the one with known age and birthplace should be identified. I know that many people that looks at gulls on a daily bases never tries to identify fuscus outside the breeding area. Still I think some birds actually can be identified safely without a ring on its leg. We will come back to them!