07 October 2009

Gull ID by Wertheimer, Koffka & Köhler

Following a fractious and, ultimately, unsuccessful attempt at getting to Corvo a couple of days early, we accepted defeat and set about touring the sites on Terceira. The quarry delivered the usual array of Nearctic waterfowl with 2 Semi-palmated Plover, 2 Semi-palmated Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 2 American Golden Plover, 1 Long-billed Dowitcher, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper and a Blue-winged Teal. Vying for attention from the opposite direction were 1 White-winged Black Tern (2nd for the Azores), 1 Wood Sandpiper and 5 Ruff.

Praia Pools and a couple of sites 'up-country' were absolutely devoid of anything notable, however, Praia Port turned up a very early American Herring Gull.

A couple of features might make this individual potentially troublesome (with regards sneaking it past a rarity committee on the European mainland, e.g. on the deck the dark bases to the greater coverts aren't obvious and the undertail could be more strongly barred), however, a 'gestalt approach' to identifying this bird results in only one conclusion.

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