Thursday, 17 February 2011
American Herring Gulls on the Azores
Juvenile 'American Herring Gull' (Keijo Wahlross)
Markku Santamaa and Keijo Wahlross found this juvenile gull on Terceira a couple of days ago. Considering the location of the bird and the fact that American Herring Gulls are regular on the Azores, the various pro-AMHG features could be presented as a convincing argument to confidently label this bird as an American Herring Gull.
However if we were to apply strict criteria the undertail coverts on this bird have widely spaced barring and not the barcode barring which is generally regarded as an essential feature to secure a WP identification for American Herring Gull. Also is the bird a bit too pale - could that be a Glauc or Thayers influence?
What if this bird was seen in Northern Europe- would it get through a rarities committee with those undertail coverts? Also can we certainly exclude a gull from Iceland?
Does it make a difference that this bird is on the Azores? I think it does- which could mean that sometimes in gulling it may appear that.......'It's not what you see, it's where you see it'
More 'American Herring Gulls' from the Azores here: