Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 16/10/16

Two days of birding the patch with not very much to show for it, or maybe the contrast from the east coast on Friday was just too much to handle.

Saturday was a later start due to extreme tiredness, with the only noteworthy bird on the Head was a Ring Ouzel by Harry's Bush. The Cuckmere produced a female Merlin and another Ring Ouzel above Foxhole Farm.

Today was marginally better but still hard work. I met up with Josh and we walked the same circuit as yesterday. Hope Gap had 2 Ring Ouzels and whilst at Harry's Bush I looked down at the Gulls and noticed a dark-mantled Gull that I thought to be a Yellow-legged Gull. Closer inspection revealed streaking on the head and a dark sub-terminal band on the bill and a mantle shade that I thought was too dark for a michahellis, and so I suspected maybe an atlantis form could be on the cards, though after asking a couple of people it appears it is a hybrid Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull. The Cuckmere produced a male Merlin, and a Woodlark over the small sycamore copse before landing in a stubble field. Whilst searching for this 4 Wheatears were found, and then the Woodlark was inadvertently flushed and flew strongly NE. With very little about and no sign of any new arrivals we called it a day.

adult Yellow-legged Gull in the Upper Cuckmere (Dec 2014)

Josh Jones reply - "I reckon it's probably a hybrid LBB x Herring having looked at the pics - feet look to have a pinkish tinge to them while the primary pattern, with relatively restricted black and some dark grey seemingly extended right up the outers and bleeding into the black.

(Kris Gillam has kindly got back to me and stated the possibility of a hybrid Gull, with the streaking on the head favouring a Herring/Lesser Black-backed influence.) I must admit I didn't even think of a hybrid. A very interesting Gull.

Many thanks to both Kris and Josh, concluding the identity of the Gull as a Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid.

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