tirsdag 28. februar 2012

Gulling is complicated!

Right now I can't think of any other group of birds that has larger variation than gulls. Maybe it don't exist. Still there has do be something that makes us watch them, follow their every move. Looking up ID articles on the internet,  reading peoples comments to new discoveries, follow ringed birds, reading throw books. It seems that birding has something more to it.

Just recently I have wondered why we keep resourcing and trying to get more information. Why can't we just walk past it and say it's a bird? Personally, I have never managed to make up a good answer to that question. Still, I keep it up. Take photos, reads. I think that these questions isn't that important actually. The main thing is that we do.

Well, this wasn't supposed to be so philosophical. I was actually reading about Common Gulls. Which isn't that bad. Still they have an enormous variations.

Martin Garner just posted (2 hours ago) a post about Russian Common Gulls (ssp heinei). This made me think, and of course search the internet for more... I didn't find a whole lot more about them. A lot of literature seems to describe canus and heinei in the same block, something that shows how small differences there are. Martins gull looks really good. Still, how could we know that it isn't a extreme extreme canus? Do anybody know how weird a canus can look? We have only tried to identify birds since the 19something and it's clear that there is so much to learn. The digital photo world has made it easier, but there isn't enough photos of Common Gulls yet. We need a lot of rings on the birds as pullus. First then we can get photos of extreme variation.

Even harder than Common Gulls is the Iceland problem. What is a Kumlien's? When can we put it at the back of (or front in English) the "Iceland Gull"? GullDK just posted this one. It gets your mind running! I agrees with the points, still I think that we need more people resourcing on it. Personally I am a fan of the Kumlien's=hybrid between Thayer's and Iceland. It kind of explain every variation in the range. At least if the hybrids is reproductive!

White gulls in Møre and Romsdal

A trip to Møre and Romsdal in the Winter-vacation gave a lot more white gulls than earlier expected. Summing up the week have given at least 90 different Iceland, most likely a lot more. Sadly only three Glaucous where found. This post will mainly look at ID on the white ones. Of course some ringing data from the trip will be looked at. Starts of with some easy identification.
3cy Glaucous Gull
3cy Iceland Gull
Blue JM5Z is ringed as 3cy+ at Valderøya. It has been refound one time  in Ørsta. Here it is in Mauseidvåg.

Now over to the not so easy ones. This Iceland was found in Mauseidvåg some minutes before the marked one over. I think this bird is a 4cy. 5cy is certainly hard to exclude. Still I don't think a 5cy would have had so much dark markings in bout tail and coverts. Also, this bird show some Kumlien's features. I personly don't think it's enough for confident ID on Kumlien's but I'm sure some people would have disagreed with me. I didn't manage to get any good flight shoots of the bird. Actually quite hard to locate in a large fish-eating flock of hungry Herrings!
4cy Iceland Gull (Kumlien's?)
4cy Iceland Gull (Kumlien's?)
4cy Iceland Gull (Kumlien's?)

Another one. Kumlien's? Shows some dark in primaries on the water, but seems to be limited to small dirty spots on primary-center. Still not enough to claim Kumlien's in my head.
4cy+ Iceland Gull

Most white gulls during the week was 3cy. Under follows two photos from same day, same time, and almost same place. Still clearly two different birds. First one looks nice for Kumlien's be first look, but again, I don't think it's enough. Dark on inner primaries, but utter web seems to be light colored. Out of the Kumlien's rage or? Looks quit like this one: A' Type 1' sailed eider and an extremely dark 'Iceland' Gull Not the Eider, but the gull :)
3cy Iceland Gull
This one on the other hand looks more like what I had expected from a 3cy Iceland. Shining white primaries!
3cy Iceland Gull

Finally, one good looking Kumlien's. Wing pattern seems to be perfect. Even really week, but still.
4cy+ Kumlien's Gull

Just one nice white one at the end.
3cy Iceland Gull

And to everyone looking for Glaucous Gulls, watch out for this!
Herring Gull
Same one as over

onsdag 15. februar 2012

update! Med Gull at Aker Brygge

Have looked up the photos from Kristoffer Bøhn in PS now, and have concluded that it is in fact the same as at Marienlyst. The bird has a metalring on it's left foot (Norwegian size...), and the bird looks exactly like the bird at Marienlyst. So why have the bird decided to move around?

Most likely this is not a new-developed movement for the Med. I think that the Med and Common Gulls from Marienlyst sleeps somewhere in the fjord every night. Most likely the Med Gull was on it's way to the feeding area at Marienlyst when Kristoffer saw the bird on the ice at Aker Brygge.This technique seems to be normal in the Urban small Gull population in Oslo. Large amounts of Common and some Black-headed Gulls flies out against the fjord in the evening every day.

Here is all the photos Kristoffer managed to take of the gull at Aker Brygge. (full resolution)
Photo: Kristoffer Bøhn

Med Gull at Aker Brygge

Yesterday a Med was seen on Aker Brygge some minutes before 11:30. The  bird was seen from the boat from Nesodden by Kristoffer Bøhn. He managed to take some distance photos. The bird stood on the left foot (the one with metalring), so Kristoffer didn't manage to see any ring. At 13 o'clock Simon Rix saw the same Med as before at Marienlyst. Was the bird on Aker Brygge the same?

Today Kristoffer has sent me the original photos from Aker Brygge, and I think the bird has a metalring on the foot, but it's quite hard to see clearly. I will try to take the photo up in PS when I come home, and see what is possible to get out of the distance. The rest of the bird looks alike, so it's most likely the same. Interesting that it moves so far away form Marienlyst without anyone knowing about it!

I will put out photos of the Aker Brygge bird later today.

lørdag 11. februar 2012

Gulling in Oslo

Thought that I should take a trip to eastern Oslo to look for colorrings and maybe some more exotic species. When it comes to the species I failed to get more than the four that are usual (Herring, great black-backed, common, black-headed), not even the Glaucous was present. When it comes to rings and colorring i managed to read 15 colorrings and 9 metal ones, which is a good number for a days work to foot. No really interesting one, but J3777 hasn't been seen since ringing as pullus this summer until it sat on Vaterland. J3819 was seen on the ice in Bjørvika. This bird isn't seen since I saw it my self at Langvannet in November.

onsdag 1. februar 2012


The cach lookalike from Langvannet was last seen the 16th of January. The gull are probably in the area still, but  it hasn't been a lot of search. I thought that I should try to sum up the gull.

The 11th November 2011the bird was found on land together with the other gulls. It got attention eminently, and a lot of photos where taken. I didn't manage to get any flight shots this day. I soon sent pictures of the gull on the ground to Inge Flesjå (Norwegian gull-expert). Here is what he answered after the first images.
Denne var tøff, ser ut som ei meget kaspi lik Gråmåke! Hybrid? Har du bilder av en utstrakt vinge?
 To summarise in English he wonders if it could be a hybrid, and wants images of upper wing. The next day I was back on Langvannet, with only one thought in my mind. This day, the gull sits on the floating dock, and I manage to get nice upper wing shots. One or two images are again sent to Inge.
Jeg mener fuglen din er ei Gråmåke. Men, hybrid Grå x Kaspi vil være vanskelig å mot bevise. Ellers så passer det lyse vinduet med Kaspi, en stor andel fugler har lys utfane på indre håndsvingfjærene...Til tross for at "læra" sa noe annet i sin tid...
With wing shots Inge thinks that the gull is a Herring, but he also says that hybrid will be hard to disprove. After some days Hans Larsson also replies.
Hej! Den ser ok ut för möjlig hybrid alt. avvikande gråmåke!
Ok for hybrid, but he wouldn't rule Herring out!

After these two days, the gull has been seen now and then, and I have tried to get photos to show the gulls development. The gull is last seen 16.01.2012, the same day some rubbish photos where taken.

When it comes to ID, I agree with Inge and Hans. The bird is most likely a Herring. Still I wouldn't rule cach genes out. The bird hasn't changes so much since it was found in November. The interesting neck has gradually become darker. The scapulars only had a few old feathers in November, all of these where gone in one month later. Besides this the plumage only have become some more worn. The legs have never been any longer than the Herrings. Tail pattern is also quite interesting.