BIRD 3

Bird Watching (UK) - - February Id Challenge -

Here is a gull fly­ing and so slightly mask­ing some of the fea­tures. There is enough on show, though, for the ID to be clinched. The wings and man­tle are a mid-grey colour, without any dark brown feath­ers of a young­ster, im­ply­ing this is an adult bird. The bill is wholly yel­low and seems short and pointed, sug­gest­ing this is one of the smaller species. This rules out the larger pale-headed gulls (such as Her­ring) and we are look­ing at ei­ther a Com­mon Gull or the oft-for­got­ten Kit­ti­wake. A look at the wing-tips shows they are jet black with no white spots (with a thin lead­ing edge of black); but Com­mon Gull has ob­vi­ous white ‘mir­rors’. Back to the head end, the dark spot be­hind the eye and the grey ‘shawl’ con­firm this is an adult win­ter Kit­ti­wake.

KEY FEA­TURES

†Pale to mid-grey wings

†Clean black wingtips lack­ing white spots or ‘mir­rors’

†Fine, short, wholly yel­low bill

†Dark spot be­hind eye and grey ‘shawl’

Thin yel­low bill Black cheek spot and grey ‘shawl’ Dipped in black ink wingtips

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