Icelandic Intrigue – now with Post Script

Yesterday a ‘2nd winter’ Iceland Gull was reported at Sheringham around lunchtime, along with a juvenile Glaucous Gull. I was in Norwich when the message came through, so by the time I managed to get there it was about two in the afternoon. The Glaucous was reported as being somewhere east of the shelter but there was no sign of the Iceland. I wandered down to the promenade and almost immediately saw a ‘white winger’ on the beach just west of the shelter. As I approached I could see that it was an Iceland, but a rather darker bird than I’d been expecting. The bill was pink with a blackish tip, the head and breast off-white with a dark smudge in front of the eye but the back and mantle were coffee coloured, with extensive mid-brown feather fringing. Primaries where white with indistinct greyish tips, the tail was coffee with darker feather centres. During the evening a pager message announced the presence of a ‘juvenile‘ Iceland present at Sheringham during the afternoon. Intrigued by the differing accounts of the bird (birds) I returned this morning to see if I could get better views. Again, almost immediately on arrival, an obviously pale Iceland was feeding just off-shore by the shelter. This bird was a more typical 2nd winter bird with a pale greyish mantle and off-white tail. Moss Taylor, who was the original finder, confirmed that this was the same bird as he’d seen yesterday. Looking at the photos it seems probable that there are two, possibly three birds in the area (assuming that the reported juvenile was a different bird).

Post Script: Reports during the day suggest that there are indeed three Iceland Gulls currently in the Cley/Weybourne/Sheringham area but the spectre of ‘possible hybrids’ has reared it’s ugly head!

Yesterday’s bird:

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull

and today’s individual:

IMG_4814 IMG_4793

A closer look at their respective tail patterns is, in my view, pretty compelling:

Iceland Gull IMG_4798

Post Post Script: Managed to catch up with one of the juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Salthouse this morning

IMG_4917

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This entry was posted in Birding.

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