Alan Dalton post's birding diaries and original artwork from Sweden. Established in 2006, this now long running blog is now a complete overview of my birding experiences. As an artist I greatly enjoy sketching birds in the field and you will find a wide selection of that work here, from fieldwork to finished paintings. I am very passionate about my artwork and try to depict birds in their natural habitat, as I see them in the wild. My artwork is for sale and can be viewed at
As regards to my photography, since 2008 I have used a Nikon D90 DSLR camera coupled with a Sigma 150-500mm OS lens for since March 2012 for bird photography, all previous images being digiscoped. Regarding sound recording, I have been usung a Telinga Stereo Dat Mic and parabol to record birds in the field, coupled to a Marrantz 661 digital recorder, a superb piece of kit. Interest in butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies has recently seen the accquisition of a Sigma 150mm macro lens. I hope you enjoy the blog and please feel free to leave comments or contact me at

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull; Omissus type showing subterminal bar on P5; Skeppsbron; 5th July 2014

Having done some research, I am now pretty happy my initial identification of this individual was correct, that was of an 'Omissus' type Argentatus Herring Gull, probably a northern bird.
The large bill, coral red orbital ring and rather short winged, lemon yellow legs and heavy impression all support this.
Careful reading of the birds moult was imperative. P8-P10 are clearly older primaries, faded and very worn. Counting from the inner hand, we see that P1-P5 are fresh, newly grown feathers, whilst P6 is currently growing out. P7 has been dropped and is missing. The greater covert's have largely been dropped, exposing the secondaries. Heavy moult is also apparent around the head and face, further accentuating the bill, which appears large and thick based.
 I believe with fresher remiges this bird would show a large white tip on P10, with no sub terminal black bar. P9 would show a white primary tip with a black sub terminal bar dividing the tip, the remains of which can just be made out on this birds worn P9. A Yellow-legged Gull would, I believe, show more black on P9 than this bird shows. The next major point of interest is the well defined, sharply demarciated black sub terminal mark on the new P5. This is quite well documented as occurring in Argentatus, particularly in yellow legged 'Omissus' type. In addition I feel the birds general tone on the upperparts to be a little light for Yellow legged Gull.
A rather interesting bird, with P5 in particular leading to niggling doubts about my initial identification. To date this is the most complete subterminal band on P5 that I have seen in Argentatus. However, with careful analysis and weighing up a suite of features, the scales tip firmly in one direction, favouring Argentatus Herring Gull.

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