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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Yet another one of those puzzling Arctic gulls - this juvenile in County Sligo

It has all the hallmarks of another juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull but this individual photographed in Drumcliff Bay, Lissadell, in County Mayo (Ireland) by Michael Casey has typically a few anomalous features, such as stance, overall bulk and bill shape and size. Is it a hybrid nobody knows? Is it a pure Glaucous-winged Gull nobody knows? But what we do know is that juvenile Arctic gulls of this appearance are appearing on this side of the Atlantic in increasing frequency. In some ways, they conform to the appearance of birds from the more northern part of the range, particularly those that winter in Japan, but with so much argument about the purity of many individuals, one is on a hiding to nothing to make solid pronouncements.