BIRD 6

Bird Watching (UK) - - February Id Challenge -

We fin­ish with a large, long-billed gull which looks like it is about to take off from a beach. You will no­tice straight away that it is largely pale brown, which should tell you we are not deal­ing with an adult gull. Per­haps less ob­vi­ous, but vi­tal in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, is that there are no ob­vi­ous black tones in the plumage (the tail is in shadow, so is tonally un­re­li­able), and par­tic­u­larly in the tips of the wings. All im­ma­ture big gulls have dark in their wings apart from Glau­cous and Ice­land Gulls. Both of these northern birds have sim­i­lar plumages at each age group (which is ju­ve­nile here). Struc­ture is the eas­i­est way to iden­tify one in iso­la­tion. The bill is the best clue here: long and deep and pink with a black tip: clas­sic ju­ve­nile Glau­cous Gull.

KEY FEA­TURES

†Big gull struc­ture and shape

†Pale cof­fee-coloured plumage all over

†White flight feath­ers; no black in wings

†Long pink bill with black tip

Long, pink, black-tipped bill Pale cof­fee plumage Wings lack­ing any black feath­er­ing

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