Sunday, March 29, 2015

Iceland Gull

Bizarrely, Iceland Gulls do not breed in Iceland. They do breed in Greenland and Northern Canada, and more interestingly for us, a number of these enigmatic white-winged gulls turn up in Britain during the winter months. March is a good time to find one of these birds as they begin to migrate back to their breeding grounds.
Exactly ten years ago I photographed two Iceland Gulls at Llandullas on the North Wales coast, so I was quite excited when a juvenile bird took up residence at Pensarn not far along the coast from where I last saw this species. Unfortunately, on the bright sunny day that I first visited the shingle beach where the bird had been, to use twitching parlance, "showing well" the gull could not be found. So I amused myself by photographing the local Black-headed Gulls. A week later on a really grey Sunday afternoon I returned to the site and had great views of the bird all to myself. The bird was aged as a juvenile, and was slightly smaller than the accompanying juvenile Herring Gulls. It had pale coffee-coloured barring on the plumage and white tips to the primary feathers. At the time of writing (end of March) the bird is still present. As is the Laughing Gull in New Brighton (see earlier post). It's a great time to be a larophile!

Black-headed Gull

Juvenile Herring Gull


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