1cy Yellow-legged Gulls – 20130813

My observations of first-calendar year Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis in my home town just keep on increasing with an unprecedented number of 3 sightings today alone.

This brings my total up to 5 different individuals seen over the last 10 days.

They are supposed to be rare here but they even show up in the street where I live now… Out of the 3 individuals that I saw today, 2 were new.

Bird #1

I spotted this one out of my window. Not going outside to take some photos would have been criminal…

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

Bird #2

This one joined bird #3 which I had already photographed 3 days ago.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull (front) with 1st-calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull (back). Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull (front) with 1st-calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull (back). Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gulls (front and center) with 1st-calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull (back). Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gulls (front and center) with 1st-calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull (back). Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

1st-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Leiden, The Netherlands, 13 August 2013.

I also managed to get a short recording of him calling:

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2 thoughts on “1cy Yellow-legged Gulls – 20130813

  1. Do you think that it might be the case that they’re only ‘rare’ because people generally don’t really pay much attention to the gulls? I mean, how many people would just take a look at the birds in your photos and say ‘it’s a baby seagull’? Or just assume that it was a Herring/LBB Gull because of the size?

    • It’s true that only a very small group of birders (around 5) regularly watch gulls in my home town, so that is definitely a factor.
      Identification skills within that group is also improving: personally I wouldn’t have been able to confidently ID first-calendar year Yellow-legged or Caspian Gulls 2 seasons ago.
      The number of locations where we check for these types of gulls is also increasing and one new location is available to us since last winter where a nice number of gulls can be observed.

      Still, you would expect that at least a few juvenile Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls would have been reported over the last couple of years, but on a popular web site for logging bird observations, none have ever been reported.

      So the increase in observations is probably a combination of more and better skilled observers, more locations that are being watched and more birds that are actually present.

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