Monday, 3 June 2013

Colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull and possible Caspian Gull

Whilst in Suffolk last week I spent quite a few hours at RSPB Minsmere. One morning, whilst looking out over the scrapes I spotted a colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull (see below).

Lesser Black-backed Gulls
I sent off the record to the BTO and am currently awaiting information to say where and when it was ringed. It could possibly be from nearby Orford Ness, where many birds have been ringed and tracked on their winter migration (see details here).
Also out on the scrapes was this large, immature gull, (left hand bird) that I think is a Caspian Gull.
Immature Caspian and Lesser Black-backed Gulls
I love looking at gulls, but I'm not great on identifying them in juvenile plumages, so if you can positively identify this bird for me, please let me know.
UPDATE: I received an email today (3rd June), telling me that my colour-ringed LBB Gull was ring as a pullus at Havergate Island, an RSPB site in Suffolk, in July 2010. This is the first sighting back in England, but it was reported 3 times in winter 2010 in Portugal and then moved south to Agadir in Morocco, where it spent the early part of 2011 and returned again in winter 2012. Interestingly, this is very similar movement to the birds from Orford Ness, in the BTO research shown above.
UPDATE 2: Just heard from Dominic that the above bird is definitely a Caspian Gull, so thanks for that Dominic and I'll update the Year List:
141 - Caspian Gull


  1. Hey mate me again

    Just to let you know that is indeed a caspian gull, it can be told apart by the longer black/grey bill and "cleaner" facial plumage, most juvenile gulls have a fairly dirty looking face, I compared this picture with several juvenile gulls, in "Guide to british gulls" .

    1. Thanks a lot Dominic. Good to add a new species to my list.

      Is the "Guide to British Gulls" on the internet or is it a book?


  2. Its a book, I believe its available from the rspb's shop

  3. Hi Dominic,

    had a look, but can't seem to find it! Must be blind or thick.


  4. I got it a few years back, so could be off sale there, ill have a look around see if I can find you a link to a retailer

  5. Hiya. Just noticed this. The bird on the left is a 1st summer Herring Gull; the head is far too streaky for a Caspian Gull, primary tips too brown, ground colour of the upperparts too pale, dark upperpart markings too extensive. Compare 1st summer Caspian Gull here;

    Regards, Jim Clarke.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Ps. Should you want to get into the subject in detail this is the definitive paper on the subject;