September Gulling

Back up at Hämeenkyrö this past weekend, which meant the usual visit to Tarastenjärvi.

Things started out well, finding some decent scarce in the form of a Rook.

Yes. A Rook.


As I rounded a bend and presented with a mixed flock of Jackdaw, Raven and Hooded Crow, my attention was immediately drawn to the dark hoddie sized corvid. Result!


Finding birds like this tell me I'm not overlooking things, even when it concerns Irish dross which I could be tempted to ignore. Why am I looking at crows? How else will I find that daurian?

Gulls were a bit tough this time around, lazily loafing on rooftops for a change.

No Caspian this time. It's been a poor season for Tarastenjärvi, with no juvs having turned up yet here (to my knowledge). The best in this regard was a few slightly more interesting Herring juvs.




Baltics were also in lower numbers, many having already made their way south. Nice to see the plumage stage of the few juvs that were still present though.





Juvenile Baltic Gull - this is what I term a "dark morph" bird, in that the new scapulars and mantle feathers are of the wholly dark, black variety.



Birds like this I term pale morph, as the new scapulars and mantle feathers are silvery grey with dark anchors.




Juvenile Baltic Gulls


Juv Baltic Gull - Tail Pattern



Adult Baltic Gulls

2 adult Lesser Black Backed types, typically asleep on the hill, were the best of the rest.


LBB types



This sub-ad LBB type I am forced to leave in the "Haven't a clue" camp.  The very dark upperparts, both in terms of the new grey and old dark coverts, combined with the white underwing, and new, growing P10 with small mirror, is a very odd combo. Comments welcome.

Edit: Some more salvaged photos of the above.



The more I look at this, the more I wonder whether the dark impression is a result of retained dark first year coverts. Compared to the grey tone of the herring to it's right... it's not so dark as I'd originally thought. In which case... would 2nd cal Caspian be a contender? The dark greater covert bar, dark tail and primary pattern would make much more sense in that scenario. The more I look, the more I think this is the case.

Pulling the trigger on this, 2CY Caspian Gull. 

Migrant action was pretty good on site, with Bluethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Red-Throated and Tree Pipits and numerous Phyloscs all present in the scrub.



Bluethroat - the bizness

Best of the rest was a family of 4 Taiga Bean Geese at Sarkkila, the first migrating beans I've seen so far.

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