Posts Tagged ‘Glaucous Gull


three degrees and a rising tide

A temperature shock greeted me as I walked along the beach. Three degrees of mercury and a cutting wind which took no prisoners. A far cry from the searing Antipodean heat. Here on the North Norfolk coast a long staying Glaucous Gull was playing ball and being photographer friendly. Not so the reported probable Viking Gull which never made an appearance,



Some excellent bird tours in February. Around 6 trips into the Brecks and almost as many into the Broads. The tour on the day of storm Doris was a challenge to say the least, but we still managed a few things of interest. Here’s a compendium of photos of just a few birds we came across during the month.

bewicks-swan crane glaucous-gull goshawk great-grey-shrike hawfinch iceland-gull lesser-spotted-woodpecker mediterranean-gullrough-legged-buzzardsiskinsnow-buntingwaxwingwoodlark



Glaucous Gull

Over the past week or so the northerlies have raised the waves and poured them over the beaches. Thrown up onto the shore were many thousands of Starfish attracting clouds of gulls. Among them were Icelands and Glaoucous’.

As we drove along the north coast road we called in at Salthouse where a Glaucous Gull was being watched. It was distant. Crouching on a distant island it was resting seemingly disinterested in anything and anybody. I decided to try and coax it a little nearer.

 I thought a morsel of bread might do the trick, homemade I’ll add, no additives here. Not that a self-respecting Glaucous Gull would ever condescend to bread. The raucous gathering of feeding gulls however attracted its attention … and it flew over. Now more than just a blob in the distance it showed its features to all.

Glaucous Gull _Z5A8689a Glaucous Gull _Z5A8715




The wind was so cold I lost the feeling in my hands earlier this week. On the open beach the relentless easterly swept a curtain of sand a metre above the dunes. A large flock of six to eight thousand gulls of nine species in east Norfolk has few precedents. I suspect there was a gathering of fish just offshore and within the surf, the gullfest which developed was taking advantage of a feeding bonanza.

Among the foray were large birds standing head and shoulders over much of the flock; Glaucous Gulls; three of them. These white winged monsters should really be gathering within Icelandic and northern Europe waters ready to start their breeding season. No doubt they will soon leave as warmer weather ensues.

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull


April Mystery Bird

Most people’s perception of Gull identification is perhaps best summed up by one entrants submission “It’s a Bl**dy Gull”

Gulls can certainly be a challenge but March’s mystery bird should not pose too many problems if features are looked at carefully.

The gull is obviously one of the white winged gulls either Glaucous or Iceland. The other options of Kumlein’s or Viking Gull (a hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull) would show darker edges to some primaries. Glaucous Winged Gull a relatively new addition to the British List would show greyer primaries.

On perched gulls the ratio of the bill length to eye diameter is conclusive (Iceland has a bill under 4x the eye diameter while Glaucous is over 4x quite often 5x or more). The difference between Glaucous and Iceland Gulls can also be done simply on structure. Iceland is a smaller more compact Gull with a relatively shorter bill. Glaucous is a brute of a gull with a big head, bill and fierce expression. In flight it would look full-chested and bigger bodied than Iceland. Our bird is indeed a daintier, slimmer bodied benign looking Iceland Gull photographed appropriately in Iceland during February.

All answers were for Iceland or Glaucous with twenty two answers for Iceland Gull. Phil and Jan Thorpe did it again and now have four successive correct answers. Once again well done.

There has been an invasion of white winged gulls into the country this last winter and I’m hoping on our Scotland trips this month we catch up with one or two as they move back north.

April’s Mystery bird is pictured below and should be quite easy. Please submit the id by email to The rules of the competition can be found in a previous posting here. Give it a go … it doesn’t cost anything and you could easily win as successively correct answers mount up!

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Nov 2022


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