‘taimyrensis’ Gulls

I have been meaning to post these images for a while.  In late January, when I was in Dalian, I made two visits to Jinzhou Bay, a fantastic winter gull site (and also a great site for White-tailed Eagles).  By far the most common gull was Mongolian (3-4,000) with Vega Gull also well represented alongside a sprinkling of Common, Black-tailed, Black-headed and Glaucous.  Among them were a few dark-mantled and yellow-legged large gulls.  These are presumed to be the ‘taimyrensis‘ subspecies of Heuglin’s Gull, considered by some to be a hybrid between Vega Gull and nominate Heuglin’s Gull.

Whatever they are, they are smart gulls.  In late January most were sporting significant head streaking, including the typical East Asian ‘shawl’ of patterning on the lower nape.  They were relatively large, on a par with Vega in terms of size with mantle shade in between nominate Heuglin’s and Vega Gull.  I estimated that there were around 30-40 of these gulls on site.  All images taken in late January.  Comments very welcome!

Presumed 'taimyrensis' gull. Note mantle shade, yellow legs and head streaking.

 

Note heavy head streaking.

 

This individual has reduced head streaking. Iris pale yellow. Note shade of mantle compared with Vega Gull behind.
Reduced streaking on head, limited to lower nape. Extensive red gonys spot but not leaking onto upper mandible.
This image shows white 'mirrors' on p10 and p9.

 

This individual is still moulting its primaries. Looks as if there is a 'mirror' on the new p10.

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