Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Yellow-legged Herring Gull?

As I was out and around Howth today I decided to have a quick look through the gulls hanging around the local fish factory. There was one gull of interest and that bird was a very possible Yellow-legged Herring gull. Please see the comment from Birdwatch Irelands Niall T Keogh below. If anyone one else has a view on this bird please leave a comment below as as I would be very interested to read them. The bird was sheltering with a group of Herring gulls on the roof of the fish factory. This particular bird had a silver leg ring on the right leg.


nialltkeogh said...

Hi James,

The structure of this birds head/bill & extent of fine streaking onto the nape as well as the colouration of the upperparts & legs would suggest to me that this is a 'yellow legged' Herring Gull as opposed to a Yellow-legged Gull (michahellis).

I have seen a 'yellow legged' Herring Gull such as this on the rooftops at Howth before (7th Jan 2011) and Graham Prole photographed one there recently, see here:

These birds are often referred to as 'omissus' Herring Gulls and are thought to originate from a population in the Baltic where yellow colouration to the legs occurs on some birds, hence also the darker upperpart colouration too, in line with Scandinavian (argentatus) Herring Gulls.

Would be great to get a read on that ring too & find out conclusively where it came from!

All the best,

James said...

Thanks Niall for the feed back, I actually hadn't come across a Yellow-legged Herring Gull or even heard about this race until now. I had a look at the other photo and it looks like the same bird alright. Are they rare to these parts? It might be tough to get the ring as I was at the lenses max yesterday photographing it. The next time I'm in Howth I'll try and get a better shot, thats if I can relocate the bird. A bag of chips from Wrights might draw it in ;-)