Thursday, 22 March 2012

White-winged Gull

21st March - a quick visit early afternoon found little of note - still no hirundines or LRP for me.

The regular pair of Shelduck were in the NW bay along with a fine summer plumaged Little Grebe, always nice to see.  Several singing Chiffchaffs, but down on numbers from yesterday and a silent male Blackcap on the western side.

As I was about to leave, I picked up a gull with white wings flying in front of the island and towards me, but gaining height.  Rather than a genuine white-winged gull, it was actually a leucistic Black-headed Gull, but quite striking nonetheless.  It had no black in the plumage at all, but showed some pale ghosting of a dark cheek spot and a terminal tail band.  There was some restricted very pale brown coloration on the upperwing, but these were essentially pale grey/white.  As it circled overhead, the primaries appeared gleaming white, much as a Med Gull, but it continued westwards over the STW and was unfortunately not seen on deck.  The terminal tail bar marking suggests that this is a 2cy bird as opposed to an adult.  Leucistic Black-headed Gulls are apparently not uncommon and I can think of some very white looking adults that have been recorded not too far from here, but this is the first I have noticed on site.

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