Mystery gull at Holmethorpe Sand Pits ... 15th November 2011

This gull was picked out by Gordon Hay at Water Colour Lagoon 1 at Holmethorpe SPs late this morning.
I had already noticed it a couple of minutes earlier and had dismissed it as being a scruffy-looking Lesser Black-backed!
On closer inspection, it had the mantle colour of a Yellow-legged Gull but that species should be showing a white head by this time of year and the bird we were looking at had anything but a white head. The fine streaking giving it a hooded effect. It was darker mantled than the Herring Gulls it was accompanying but lighter mantled than graelsii Lesser Black-backed. In fact the grey tone was closer to that of a Common Gull.





















We ran through the likely identifications. Argentatus Herring Gull? It didn’t have the bulk and brutish expression to be that.
Azorean Yellow-legged Gull? Not sure. I suppose it is possible but I need to get better photos.
I am hoping it will still be around tomorrow.
Opinions would be welcomed but I appreciate that from the poor quality of my photos, it won't be easy!

Graham

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