Apparently this large gull in Amble Harbour is a 4th year Caspian Gull. The yellow darvic ring, PKCS shows that it was indeed ringed in a caspian gull colony in southern Poland, so what more could you ask for in confirming its identity?
Well there is unrest in the camp, with words such as 'unconvincing' and 'hybrid' being bandied about by the twitching fraternity. There may be some discrepancy in a retarded moult in the P45 or something (?) but this morning I visited and kept an open mind.
Ring or not, this gull was a doddle to pick out from the rest when given a good view. The most striking features were the dark 'piggy' eye, the very long bill and best of all for me, those legs! Is it a hybrid with an avocet I wondered ! It seemed very large, possibly indicating a male and was quite aggressive when squabbling over the warburtons, but the locals soon took the better hand.
Looking through my pics below you can see its very distinctive shape, with the sloping posture when walking that is very unlike argenteus Herring Gulls. I haven't had a chance to consult back issues of 'Gulling World' to check the required patterning on the primaries, but I will, later.
For me personally, I cant see why this is not a Caspian Gull. Had it been wandering in a pig field at Blythburgh no one would have questioned it I'm sure, but they are very rare up here, where just about every non conforming bird of any species is deemed a hybrid.
[ Ive just had a bit of a read of birding world info and on the internet. All features seem fine for Caspian coming into 4th winter. I would like to see it after it has moulted all of the primaries, but I cant see what the doubters are on about really?]
Tell you what, its going on my list, not only a county tick (332) but a proper British tick (403) too! I have seen them in Slovakia and Hungary ( that looked like this), so that'll do.
I might just use a pencil tick though til its accepted...