Thursday, January 24, 2013


Warming to my subject I'll continue.  I grant that there needs to be more than just two species of gull. What of the rare gulls not mentioned in the previous post? I was coming to that. As well as the super-species of Tip Gull Larus refusicus, and Seagull Larus briney I propose that we lump all or nearly all of the rarer gulls into a single species to be known as: Vagrant Gull Larus properlostitis. Here be all of those North American jobbies that look the same (Franklin's/Laughing!!) and the northern white-winged birds and those that you only ever see somewhere near Oban. We can lump these with those from the Med. i.e. Med...and Slender-billed and Audouin's. Now we have three species of gull!
Vagrant Gull!

Another Vagrant Gull

Tip Gull!
 This leaves the highly dodgy gulls. Those that turn up at London reservoirs and landfill sites late Tuesday evening and have disappeared by first light on Wednesday. They are often called Flaky-backed or Streaky-backed Gull or Glaucous-thinged Gull. These just don't exist. I suggest we call them Gullible Larus easilytakeniniwas. No more driving through the night to reach some shoddy, dodgy wet patch or tip to look for iffy gulls. No more struggling with primary mirrors, secondary windows, assessing grey tones (which, let's be honest are grey). Moult strategies, feather-wear, colour abnormalities and bare-part colouration can all be lobbed in the bin. Not needed anymore.

                                                                                    A pair of Very Vagrant Gulls

                                                                               More Vagrant Gulls

Identification will be straight forward. If you're on a boat or falling down a cliff or off the end of a pier and you see a gull it's guaranteed to be a Seagull. If you are near a dump, an industrial estate or eating fish and chips and you see a gull it's a Tip Gull. If you are lost on the west coast of Scotland  it's a Vagrant Gull.  If you are anywhere near London it's a Gullible.There no problem!

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