Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Gull sp. The Plot Thickens

Lee Evans kindly followed up on the gull sp (see below) and contacted gull master Peter Adriaens. It was good to hear from Peter again, who guided me on the identification of the Short-billed Gull on the Azores from 2003.

He drew my attention to these links from another gull expert, Visa Rauste: and

Peter says that the situation is complicated by eastern baltic argentatus herring gulls that can show features which recall Caspian. To make things even more interesting there is genetic evidence provided by Pierre-Andre Crochet et al that this variation of the eastern baltic argentatus is due to the presence of genetic material from an unknown perhaps even ancient gull species.

It really dont get much better than that in gull identification- a 'hybrid' with an extinct species.


Martyn Yapp said...

I have recently been in email contact with a fellow blogger that took pictures of a gull they found in the West Midlands. This particular site has host in the past year or so, at least two Caspian Gulls. Both classic 3rd and adult plumages.

They original thought it showed some characteristics of Caspian Gull, although structurally it appeares wrong, it still has some similar features to your bird. Pink legs, clean head and in this one a small beady eye, although your bird shows a much larger bill.

The image can be seen at

Although Caspian Gulls are becoming "commoner" I still feel there is a lot we have to learn, especially has we only seen to be dealing with "classic" individuals.

Keep up the good work

Peter Alfrey said...

Cheers for the link Martyn.
I suppose all we can do is look for the classics.
Thanks again

Martyn Yapp said...

Actually there is a better link to this particular bird as it is under discussion at the moment.