One of the first birds I looked at immediately jumped out as a 1st winter Caspian Gull. Its plumage and structure looked spot on, although in the dim light, I was a bit concerned about its rather too streaky looking head and why it had a weirdly long and mainly pink bill. However, with everything else looking good, I put this down to variation. An adult Yellow-legged Gull joined it and 5 adult GBB Gulls were the other birds of note.
The following day, I went down mid afternoon in the hope of seeing the previous day's birds again. Fortunately, the 1st winter Caspian Gull was one of the few LWHG present. In much better light, I was able to study it in more detail and take some photos. Its provenance was beginning to worry me a little, because although pretty much all of its plumage and structure looked great for Caspian, why did it have such a streaky looking head, particularly flaring out behind the eye? and why were its undertail coverts fairly heavily marked? and what a weird looking bill that didn't seem to fit anything. Take a look at these:
|Adult YLG behind|
That's the second Casp this year that has had the spectre of hybrid genes - just waiting for an unequivocal one now for the year list!
At least this was straight forward!