Another day on St Mary’s
Looking back to Porthcressa
A Scillonian post-agricultural landscape
Brightly marked starling
Iceland gull with herring gulls
The Iceland gull
The winds are from the north west now and this has stopped the flow of migrant birds coming up from the Continent. As a result we went looking for a few of the long staying vagrant birds on St Mary’s.
This is an Iceland Gull – there have been two juvenile birds on the golf course for a while now.
Iceland Gulls are pretty birds and are almost white as juveniles – the key feature of the species though is the lack of black on the tips of the wings.
This is an Arctic species (thus the name) and a few dozen birds a year come south, especially juvenile birds. This is a photo of the second bird on the Golf Course.
Another shot of the same bird – this is the third Iceland Gull I have seen – all on Scilly.
This is a Lesser Black-back Gull – a species in decline nationally and an uncommon species on Scilly.
Here is a Herring Gull – the classic seagull of the southwest – the one that will steal your ice cream, pasty or fish and chips if you aren’t paying attention.
Finally we found this bird on Porth Loo beach. On the surface it looks like a Herring Gull but it has yellow legs – see the previous picture and you will see that Herring Gulls have pink legs.
If you took the bird guides at face value you would conclude that this was a Yellow-legged Gull. However it didn’t look quite right – the grey on a Yellow-legged Gull is darker – intermediate between a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The other ‘herring gull’ type of gull with yellow legs is a Caspian Gull but that has a large bill which is parallel sided.
This picture helps to clinch the ID perhaps. The ‘yellow-legged’ Gull is mating with the ‘pink-legged’ Herring Gull. As the books say ‘some Herring Gulls have yellow legs’ ……
If anyone wants to comment on the ‘yellow-legged’ Herring Gull ID please do.