What a day!

Very good numbers of Iceland Gulls in Klaksvík

The storm is over and this morning the sun was shining and the gulls were flying outside the window. I headed out on my normal route. Same stunning numbers as yesterday were present in Klaksvík – about 150 birds. But it is really hard to get an accurate number. The birds move over a distance of about 4 km between the northern harbour, the fish factory and the beach. I counted 114 Iceland Gulls simultaneously around the fish factory knowing that another ground was at the northern harbour and yet another was at the beach. So 150 Iceland Gulls in Klaksvík today is a conservative estimate!

A few monsters aka Glaucous Gulls are also around!

Most gulls were the same as yesterday probably, but I found at least 9 Kumlien’s Gulls and two dark individuals were surely new. There are quite a lot of birds that have faint markings, but it is written on birdingfrontiers, that glaucoides can show faint markings. So when I mention numbers of Kumlien’s Gulls on the blog I refer to pretty obvious Kumlien’s Gulls that are somewhat straight forward to identify.

Dark straight forward 3. winter Kumlien's Gulls - Klaksvík

I also checked Hvannasund and about 50 birds were present there including 7 Kumlien’s Gulls. And again at least two were surely new dark birds that I haven’t seen before. One of them was a true dream bird – a solid dark 4. winter – finally!

Finally one of these stunning and nice dark "beyond any doubt" 4. winter Kumlien's Gulls - Hvannasund

Interestingly enough 14 of the birds in Hvannasund were first winter-birds. It has been quite a mystery why 40 to 50 % have been second winter and the number of first winter birds has been so low. One part of the explanation could be the breeding success in 2010 and 2011, but with these new first winters arriving it doesn’t look like the breeding season of 2011 has been a total disaster for the Iceland Gulls.

A nice dark 2. winter Kumlien's Gull

Same as above - Hvannasund

Rodmund tried to relocate the dark Herring Gull from yesterday, but most of the gulls in Sørvágur had departed and only about 15 Iceland Gulls were present today. I’ve received a few comments about the bird and they all pretty much state the same. It looks very interesting and some features seem to suggest that it could be a smithsonianus, but the images are too poor to say anything conclusive.

3. winter Kumlien's Gull - Hvannasund

2. winter Kumlien's Gull - Klaksvík

Adult Kumlien's Gull with minimal but solid dark markings - Klaksvík

Adult Kumlien's Gull with faint ghostly markings - Klaksvík

Two pale adult Kumlien's Gulls - Klaksvík

More distinctively marked 3. winter Kumlien's Gull feasting on fish waste - Klaksvík

Pale bird that could be both kumlieni and glaucoides - a rather rare plumage.

Large rather dark bird that could be both kumlieni and glaucoides

Another 2. winter that's hard to nail

And as the Herring Gulls are in focus here comes a dark one - Hvannasund

And a pale one - Hvannasund



2 comments on “What a day!

  1. Russ says:

    Hi Silas.
    That’s an extremely eye catching darl Herring Gull there, Did you see its tail?
    Excellent photos as usual!


  2. birdingfaroes says:

    Hi Russ

    Yes, it is – and so are many other dark Herring Gulls here on the Faroes 🙂

    The tail seemed black and the rump heavily barred – as usual. Interestingly enough these dark Herring Gulls that are regular here were not noticed 25-30 years ago, so maybe it is a rather new fenomena?

    It could be that some American Herring Gulls have “influenced” the northwestern Herring Gulls so they have become darker during the years. And in fact they could be integrades between the pale birds fom the european continent and the very dark birds from North America… I’m just wondering…


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