Caspian Gull - 1st winter, Hole Haven Creek, Essex 26th November 2007
Another obvious and stunningly beautiful Caspian Gull. This one from early in the winter season shows the require suite of characters perfectly:
White, almost unmarked head, with small dark beady eye
Slender bill
Powdery pale and plain grey scapulars with just a ghosting, compared with Herring Gull, of dark shafts and anchors
Solid centred wing coverts with neat whitish fringes and tips lacking the piano key affect of Herring Gull
Solid dark brown tertials with neat white thumbnail tips
White ground colour with limited brownish/grey mottling to the breast sides and flanks

A classic
Caspian Gull - 1st winter, Hole Haven Creek, Essex 26th November 2007
Same bird as above. Compare with the Herring Gull behind and the differences couldn't be more obvious. From this angle the tertials look almost black.
Caspian Gull - 1st winter, Hole Haven Creek, Essex 26th November 2007
Yet another striking bird: All of the classic features of the bird above can be seen in this individual which shows even less internal feather markings to the scapulars and appears nothing more than a few dark anchors and transverse bars.
 

Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans
First-years : October to December - page 1
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Caspian Gull, first-winter, undisclosed site, Essex 13th November 2010 
A very small individual with small head and relatively slender and weak looking bill so presumably a female. Note here especially the four toned appearance; whitish head and ground colour, pale grey scapulars, milky brown, paled edge wing coverts and tertials and very dark brown tail band and primaries.
Caspian Gull , First-winter, Undisclosed location, Essex early November 2011
A rather darker and dingier bird than usually seen due to the heavy and bold neck streaking and the heavy greyish mottling on the neck sides, breast and under-parts. The head is isolated white and the bill is ling and tapering.

The scapulars are a mix of ages and heavily marked.

Interestingly with this bird some of the central and inner median coverts have been replaced by grey feathers. The white tips to the greater coverts are extensive, especially on the middle feathers, creating a white wedge along the trailing edge. The bill is already becoming extensively pale.

Move the curser over the main image to reveal a further image of the bird from a different angle.
Caspian Gull , First-winter, Undisclosed location, early November 2011
A large and bulky individual, probably a male. The birds appearance would change depending on what it was doing. For instance standing still it appeared solidly built, bulky and large headed recalling a Yellow-legged Gull however when feeding in the mellie it took on a sleeker, more attenuated appearance more typical of Caspian Gull.

Note the lone replaced Lesser Covert appearing a dark diamond.
Caspian Gull , First-winter, Undisclosed location, early December 2011
Can a first-winter Caspian Gull get any better than this bird. It has all of the required features to make an instant identification. Note the contrast in the scapulars with the inner feathers showing bold dark centres with whitish fringes. Several of the Lesser coverts have been replaced.

The same bird below long calling but not in the Albatross stance often quoted. From this side note the new replaced central Median Covert and the inner most Tertial.

Caspian Gull , First-winter, Undisclosed location, 8th December 2012
All of the typical Caspian Gull features are visible here in this classic individual; this is why Caspian Gull is my favourite gull species.
Caspian Gull , First-winter, Undisclosed location, 8th December 2012
The first of the two Caspian Gulls at this south Essex site today; the other being the bird above. This individual was large, so probably a male, and shows greater level of feather wear and abrasion as well as newly replaced central median coverts and numerous lesser coverts giving the bird a rather dark spotty appearance.
WINTER BIRDS : October - December


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