Friday, 11 December 2020

11th December 2020 Unst SE7 Overcast

A storm was raging for most of the night and there were some impressive seascapes throughout the day. Despite it being a southeasterly gale there was a welcome upturn in the number of Gulls present along the shorelines mainly comprised of Common Gulls, argentatus Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls but also with 2 Iceland Gulls and a Glaucous Gull at Norwick and an adult Glaucous Gull flew east over the Final Checkout.

Juvenile Glaucous & Iceland Gulls at Norwick

Juvenile Iceland Gull and Scandinavian Herring Gull

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Norwick
A beautifully pale individual with virtually plain scapulars

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Norwick

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Norwick

Second-winter Scandinavian Herring Gull at Norwick
I was perplexed by this rather pale-looking Gull and considered its Glaucous-like bill with no black bleeding along its cutting edges and lack of a dark secondary bar suggested Glaucous Gull in its ancestry albeit had some concerns about its size (comparable to argentatus), long wings at rest and tail pattern and its overall similarity to some argentatus here. Jamie has helpfully commented as follows 'it's definitely a 2nd winter (pale iris and second generation wing coverts) and certainly a northern born bird with the delayed moult and no 3rd gen grey scaps at this age. I can't see anything in the plumage that suggests a hybrid but the bill is obviously glauc like. I think personally I'd put it down as a northern argentatus rather than a hybrid.'