2nd-Winter: Westcliff Seafront, Essex - 6th April 2003

By spring many birds such as this one have replaced the majority of their scapulars. Here there is a nearly completly grey saddle. The whitish lesser coverts still show quite bold spotting however the older median and greater coverts are very faded with greatly subdued patterning. A number of newer grey feathers can also be seen.

The eye is pale and the head still shows heavy streaking. The bill on this bird is heavy and pale with a bold subterminal band.
2nd-summer: Westcliff Seafront, Essex - 14th August 2005

This bird a month and half later than the bird above shows many more replaced wing coverts.
- The median coverts create the grey band across the middle of the wing.
- a number of lesser coverts have been replaced
- the inner greater coverts
- the inner tertials are now grey
- a number of the secondaries are now replaced grey with white tips.

Also note the fresh primary growing, just visible beneath the tertials. It is difficult to judge which primary it is but it appears to be P6.

The eye is strikingly pale and the bill very adult like.
2nd-summer, Radipole Lake, Dorset - 30th May 2004

Here the head is completely unmarked white and the eye is dark on this bird. The head shape is rather square and as the bird was rather large was probably a male. The large bill has become largely yellow with a red spot developing on the Gonys and the black subterminal band extends back along the lower mandible slightly.

The saddle is completely grey and the wing coverts are heavily worn and faded with only a few replaced next generation grey feathers showing. The inner tertials are still fairly dark though still with heavily worn and abraded fringes.
2nd-summer, Radipole Lake, Dorset - 30th May 2004

Very similar to the bird above though note the largish eye is slightly pale and there are dark shaft streaks to some of the scapular feathers. The outer median coverts are solid, unpatterned brownish-grey creating a dark wedge on the wing.

Note also the structure of the bird; rather large head and stout appearance.
2nd-summer, Radipole Lake, Dorset - 30th May 2004

Note the birds obvious large size and bulk along with rather large bill, presumably this bird is a male. Aged as 2nd-winter due to pale eye, yellow bill with bark tip and red gonydeal spot; largely grey scapular and mantle saddle and the faded wing covert and tertial patterns.
2nd-summer, Westcliff Seafront, Essex - 25th June 2006
The grey saddle shows only the barest remnants of brown feathering. Many of the median coverts are now replaced creating grey patches across the pale washed out wing. The bill is yellow with a red gonydeal spot and dark tip whilst the primaries are brown and worn.
2nd-summer, Westcliff Seafront, Essex - 2nd July 2007
The bill on this bird is already rather adult like with only a faint dark smudge on the culmen and along the cutting edge of the upper mandible just beneath and forward of the nostril.

The saddle is completely grey and the wing covert pattern is still relatively well defined. A number of central median coverts have been replaced with grey feathers. The amount of wear and tear is clearly visible on the inner greater coverts and tertials.
2nd-summer, Westcliff Seafront, Essex - 1st July 2003

There are no dark markings to the head, neck or underside given a clean appearance. The bill is adult like exception for the darkish smudges around the tip.

The eye is clearly pale.

The saddle is completely grey and nearly all of the median coverts have been replaced creating a grey band across the otherwise heavily worn wing.

A few central Lesser coverts have been replaced whilst the greater coverts are in a poor state. The outer greater coverts have been shed revealing the dark brown and pale tipped secondaries beneath whilst the inner coverts are tatty white.

The tertials are pale brown centred with whitish tips and fringes which are worn. The primaries are brown and worn.


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Herring Gull - Larus argentatus
Second-years : page 2

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2nd-winter: Undisclosed Site, Essex - 13th March 2010

A pale individual aged as 2nd winter by the follow:
- Extensive pale based bill (mostly dark on 1st-years)
- Pale eye (dark on 1st-years)
- Marbled patterned wing-coverts (not clearly barred as on 1st-year)


Herring Gull, second or third-summer, Essex August 2010 
This bird has the biggest over bite I've seen on any gull. Given the age of the bird its clearly managing to survive with its deformoity..
Herring Gull, second -winter, Essex 31st December 2011 
Fairly advanced bird for end of December with a solidly grey 'saddle' and many replaced median and greater coverts with a few lesser covets.

The eye is becoming pale and the bill is predominantly pale yellow with dark markings.

The primary tips are rounded and there is still fair amount of darkish streaking and mottling around the head and underparts.

The tertials are pale brownish based with broad whitish tips as typical for the age whilst the legs are short, stocky and pink
Herring Gull, second -winter, Essex 31st December 2011 
A more heavily marked bird than that in the previous image.

Many scapulars have been replaced though there are still many retain unmoulted older generation feathers giving a mixed appearance.

The central median coverts are buffish-brown centred with pale tips whilst the remaining wing coverts are whitish and heavily barred.
Herring Gull, second -winter, Essex 31st December 2011 
A fairly pale and 'marbled' looking bird with only the slightest hint of plainer grey peeping through on the scapulars.

Bird aged as second winter due to the patterning on the wing coverts and tertials and pale areas appearing on the bill.
Herring Gull, second summer, Essex August 2013
Not quite to the extreme of the bird above it does however show that Herring Gull is prone to bill deformity. I've not seen another Large Gull species with such 'over bites' whilst I've also not seen any Herring Gulls older then 2nd/3rd year with such bills. The fact that they've reached two to three years old shows that they can and do survive so does the bill become more normal in older years or do they simply unable to cope and die?

Note the red marks on the primary tips suggest possible feather mite infestation? which is possible if the bird is unable to preen and look after its feathers.
Herring Gull, second-year, Essex 10th August 2013
The intricate plumage detail of 2nd summer birds can presented as a rather marbly looking bird as here. This bird still has a dark eye but the bill is becoming pale based and there is a mix of faded brown and pointed old generation and newer darked, round tipped primaries .