Alexandra Park – Herring Gulls

‘Herring Gulls do not reach adult plumage until their fourth year. In Alexandra Park yesterday on a cold morning with ice beginning to form on some of the lower ponds I watched gulls jostling for food or otherwise perching and resting. In the first picture there is a busy group including two gulls in their first winter with the typical chequered brown and white pattern. With them is a gull in second winter plumage – the grey mantle is appearing and the bill is becoming paler. Another of these birds is in third winter plumage – now with a grey mantle and a paler bill – also the eye is pale as in the adult. In the second picture one of the third winter gulls rests on fencing, showing many adult features. In the third picture a brown first winter perches. In the final picture an adult in winter plumage stands on ice – presumably a not unfamiliar experience after the last two cold winters we have had.’ Andrew Grace

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