Monday 25 November 2013

Back at the dump

It's approaching that time of year where the days are so short that it rarely seems to get properly light and, to boot, the temperature is abnormally low for so early in the winter season. With a calm day forecast, I decided to seize the opportunity for my first visit to Rainham since the summer, mainly to see what the deal was with tipping activity and where the gull numbers were at.

Gull numbers were fairly low to be honest, though this might be explained by the fact it was a Monday morning. I had 5-10 michahellis of various ages arsing around on the Thames, but no Casps. Bird of the day was a pretty smart 1cy that, to me, can be labelled a Glaucous x Herring Gull:

I'm pretty aware that argentatus can come pretty big and pale - indeed, I see such birds each winter (here's one from Peterborough). However, there's enough to suggest a hybrid in this bird beside its overall paleness:
  • large size and overall bulk (compared to Herring)
  • tertial pattern
  • tail patten: just visible in the bottom photo, a lack of any sort of clear-cut dark band is obvious
  • primary pattern: broad pale chevrons as well as arrow-shaped internal patterning typical of Glaucous Gull (e.g. here and here)

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