Yellow Legged Gull, Another Tree Pipit, How about a Grasshopper Warbler

Hello there,

Caught this gull in flight. A bit blurry, but I think I can see red ring around the eye, yellow legs. So, YLG or LBB?

This pipit has finer markings on the breast, and doesn't have the blobby clump in the middle... any chance of a tree pipit with this one?


On the way back over the Plain the other evening, I heard something like a grasshopper. Oddly, despite all the grass, I rarely hear a grasshopper out there. But I know *real* birdwatchers report grasshopper warblers out there. So I scanned the long grasses, and saw this some way away. Is there enough detail to make a judgment?

And help gratefully received :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_dewey/sets/72157623533703702/  (there's birds there - and some  are actually sharp!)

 

  • lhope one of the experts can help you yas

  • Steve just looked in my book the only gull can find with yellow/beak legs is called Commom Gull hope this helps a bit yas

  • In reply to Simon:

    Thanks Yas. The common gull is much daintier than this big beastie. This gull is either yellow legged  or lesser-black backed - I'm just not sure which... Peek at the beak - yellow it may be, but it's chunkier than a common gull's would be; and the common's doesn't have that big red blob. :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_dewey/sets/72157623533703702/  (there's birds there - and some  are actually sharp!)

     

  • In reply to SteveDe:

    I love gulls and I hate Id'ing them. There are plenty of phenotypical variations amongst the herring gull groups - by the time one takes into account the male / female body type differences, age and the difference the light makes on the colour of the mantle, depending on the time and the weather when the photo was taken, the whole thing becomes a nightmare. For this one I consider the size of the red spot around gony's spot significant - it clearly extends on the upper mandible, which is the case with Yellow legged. So I'd say Yellow Legged. 

    My Gallery

    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Thanks Marina. As a photographer who photographs passing birds, but then wants to know what he's just seen, can I just concur with the "hate Id-ing them" thing. :D Especially when there's a whole bunch of young gulls in there too.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_dewey/sets/72157623533703702/  (there's birds there - and some  are actually sharp!)

     

  • In reply to SteveDe:

    I entirely agree. Should I say that the only photo directory I have which I consider a mess is the Gulls one .. need I say more? It's ok with the 'prominent' species (BBG, HG etc - in adult colouration) but once we get to the juvenile colouration and first - third year plumage individuals - and of course the other species the whole thing becomes impossible, mainly because one needs a 'combination' of elements to make a judgement (eg shape and size of mirrors on the wings, gonydean angle, red spot size / location, shape of head, lenght of legs, length/shape of wing and so on) which can rarely all be seen in one photo. One needs a specialist, seriously. Even then I honestly believe that with one photo it is difficult, if at all possible to ID a bird. For instance in most flight photos it is impossible to clearly tell the shape of the head (flatter if the bird is YLG, rounder if it is a LBG). Even a specialist would go with a 'gut feeling' and experience. I won't even mention the cross-breeds - and apparently there are lots of them around ...

    I would say your second photo is a tree pipit. Faint marks on the side, prominent eyebrow and intense black median covert bar combined with equally intense (clearly visible) wing stripes. Third photo I can't tell.  

    PS I remember once there were 8 of us trying to find and photograph a little gull that apparently was spotted in Southport .... amongst black headed gulls. Only difference, smaller and thinner bill. I also remember the headache afterwards ... trying to sort out IF we had managed to get a photo of the bird, looking at over 10000 photos ....

    My Gallery

    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Lesser Black-backed Gull for the gull IMO.

    The colour of the upper parts is perfect for a graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gull (the subspecies that typically breeds in Britain), but would be dark for a Yellow-legged Gull - especially as the bird appears to have been photographed in quite strong light, which would typically make the upper parts look paler. The dark trailing band shown on the underwing, where the colour of the upper side of the primaries is showing through, is also typical of Lesser Black-backed and would not be expected on Yellow-legged. I would be very wary of saying that this individual has the red on the bill extending onto the upper mandible - the fact that the bill is not in focus means that this cannot be properly assessed (where part of an image is out of focus the colours can seem to 'bleed' into other areas). Even if genuine, Lesser Black-backed Gulls can have red extending onto the upper mandible.

    The second photo does look good for a Tree Pipit, and the third looks like a Grasshopper Warbler.

    Marina P said:
    PS I remember once there were 8 of us trying to find and photograph a little gull that apparently was spotted in Southport .... amongst black headed gulls. Only difference, smaller and thinner bill. I also remember the headache afterwards ... trying to sort out IF we had managed to get a photo of the bird, looking at over 10000 photos ....

    I find this comment a bit curious. Did you mean to say Little Gull, or was it something different (e.g. Bonaparte's Gull) that you meant? Neither species requires the size or how thin the bill is to be assessed in order to make an identification, but if you couldn't easily pick it out from Black-headed Gulls I would say that you definitely didn't photograph a Little Gull - unless it was very distant and tiny in the images.

  • In reply to RoyW:

    Okay, thanks for that. I thought the red ring around the eye was a YLG thing, but I suppose that's a red her-ring ( :) )

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_dewey/sets/72157623533703702/  (there's birds there - and some  are actually sharp!)

     

  • In reply to RoyW:

    RoyW said:
    I find this comment a bit curious. Did you mean to say Little Gull, or was it something different (e.g. Bonaparte's Gull) that you meant? Neither species requires the size or how thin the bill is to be assessed in order to make an identification, but if you couldn't easily pick it out from Black-headed Gulls I would say that you definitely didn't photograph a Little Gull - unless it was very distant and tiny in the images.

    We didn't photograph anything indeed. We were looking for a Little Gull and yes, if it were there it would be at a distance from the hide we were in. The idea was to find it first, then see if it would approach somewhere where we could photograph it easier. I thought the size of the bill was the easiest way to tell it apart from the black headed?

    My Gallery

    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • The grasshopper warbler is a very difficult call. Visually the most distinctive feature is it's streaky back, which is obscured here. On the other hand, I don't think anything discounts it from being a GW (it seems the right size, shape and habitat) so if you heard one call, this quite possibly is it.

    That's my very-much-not-an-expert opinion anyway.