GRC Blog

Welcome to the GRC Recorders pages. This blog provides details on all the relevant news of Glamorgan’s scarcer birds, plus all BBRC & WRP decisions that affect us locally. It will also be used to document the status and occurrence of these scarcer species and we welcome contributions from anyone with photographs, artwork or documentation of rarities past, present and future. The GRC also welcomes all seawatching news from around Glamorgan and news of passage migrants in spring & autumn, uncommon birds in our area and unusual behaviour.

All visitors are welcome. You must first register by sending an email to before you can contribute. An invite will be sent to your email address. Blog content will be strictly moderated. Access to pages and downloads are available to everyone. All photographs on this blog remain the property of the originator.
If you would like to use photos, please arrange permission beforehand.

The Glamorgan Rarities Committee, in conjunction with the Glamorgan Bird Club & Gower Wildlife , have agreed to co-operate with the Welsh Ornithological Society in the sharing of bird records & photographs in the interest of keeping accurate records and to promote birdwatching in North, Mid & South Wales.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Yellow-legged Gull (?) at Morfa Sands

 An adult Yellow-legged Gull was with a mixed gull flock on Morfa Beach this morning. Quite a small individual, but seemingly of a size within range. All other features show expected Yellow-legged Gull characteristics, although I was surprised by the pinkish wash to the legs. This was more noticeable from certain angles albeit in rather poor lighting conditions. The toes and webs appearing almost fleshy pink at times, however, I have seen a photo of an adult winter Larus michahellis michahellis, also taken in October, from Portugal that suggest this leg colour is also within range. Any further comments on this gull will be welcomed.
Offshore from the Port Talbot breakwater some nice stuff passed before the rain came:- Dark-bellied Brent Goose (2 ->w), Wigeon (19 ->e), Gannet (7), Red-throated Diver (1 ->e) & Merlin (1f ->e). On the sea Common Scoter (5), Great Crested Grebe (30), Guillemot (6+) and some mobile feeding gull flocks that included Mediterranean Gull (7) & Little Gull (1 Ad W). A gull roost inside the Harbour contained a noteworthy 24 Mediterranean Gulls.
(MHi, RJ)


Barry Stewart said...

Interesting bird Mark, shows good plumage characters for mich, some suggesting 'lusitanus', but bare part colours seem a little odd in pics and from your description?

Mark Hipkin said...

Thanks for your comment Barry. Yes the black lacking from P5 seems to be a feature more commonly noted on ssp. 'lusitanus' than typical ssp. 'michahellis.' Plate 390 in Gulls: Olsen & Larsson shows the leg colour much as I remember it on yesterday's bird. The leg colour was also very similar to the the 2nd W YLG I had at Crymlyn Burrows earlier this year, where the yellow wash was beginning to show on the legs but the feet and webs remained pink. I wonder if this gull stands on young looking legs?
I've attached a couple more shots but the light was not good and the bird distant - the scope is on x50!
My own personal view is that this bird seems better than a hybrid.

Barry Stewart said...

You may be right - my experience with white-headed gulls isn't good and my policy these days is to admit defeat if the clothes don't fit! The hybrid problem when combined with natural variation does make it a probability game rather than a clean call. However, I'm still keeping an eye out for that perfect Caspian...

Mark Hipkin said...

Thanks Barry. I like the 'clothes don't fit' analogy. It's a minefield of a topic, complicated by their apparent ability to cross-breed. The cautious approach will almost certainly win the day, and I certainly appreciate any feedback available from highly experience birders.
I'm going to try and get a bit more feedback from others if I can and summarise any responses in due course.