This gull was smaller and daintier than the Herring gulls. Also walked with an odd, short stride. Any ideas?
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Having looked at the bird again, it was almost a 3rd smaller than the Herring gulls and had very short legs. smaller head and striking eye. It may well be an odd Herring gull but has anyone noticed this morphology before in other individuals?
There can be a tremendous size difference between the sexes in gulls and this seems to be at its most obvious in the larger gulls.
The smaller gulls reach maturity in less than 3 years but the larger gulls can take 5 and it is across this period that individual variation becomes more obvious and this also applies to marked sexual size differences. In large gulls the male often has a longer and broader bill and can be a much more powerful looking bird with the female often smaller and more delicately built. My guess would be that this is a female, which could be 20% smaller than a male, but its not a absolute rule.
Gulls are by no means easy and just when you think you've cracked the first piece of the puzzle, another piece comes along and makes you think about what you just learnt and to challenge what you're actually seeing.
When gulls are mentioned in my house, it gets the ole' 'rolling eyes' treatment - still, its better than stifled yawning...
Hope this has helped and apologies if you already knew this stuff. I thought you'd find it helpful.
Lat/Lng: 50.3, -4.2
OS grid ref: SX4854