Saturday 10 November 2018

Cyprus Gulls (Lady's Mile) Oct/Nov 2018

A set of photos of Gulls present at the pools at the top end of Lady's Mile, on the Akrotiri Peninsula, Cyprus at the end of October / early November 2018.  

Several visits (29 and 31 Oct and 01 and 03 Nov) produced similar results, up to 2,000 Black-headed Gulls with a single Mediterranean Gull picked out of the flock on two visits (01 and 03 Nov) and at least 2 Slender-billed Gulls as well (01 Nov). Usually up to a dozen large Gulls were present, sometimes keeping themselves to themselves and other times mingling with the Black-headed Gulls. My interest was in these large Gulls.

Armenian Gull was at the back of my mind given the timing of the visit, i.e. the start of the winter Gulling season. I thought I would struggle to pick out Armenian Gulls from what I presumed to be more numerous Yellow-legged Gulls. Having never seen them in the field before, how distinctive are these winter visitors to the eastern Med? It transpired that most of these large Gulls were in fact Armenian Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls were particularly scarce at this location on these visits.

Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
A beautiful benign looking Gull, my first sighting of this taxon. The ring-bill of the adults/subadults, rounded head and dark eye and late wing moult were clearly noticeable. Even managed a few flight shots of one moulting adult / subadult.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
One adult photographed at this location. The bottom photograph alongside an Armenian Gull (left).

Mystery Gull
This brute had a striking black bill suggesting a young Gull, yet extensive grey upperwing on the closed wing suggested it being not so young? Smallish head, relatively feint and restricted neck streaking. What is it? Is this a big immature Yellow-legged Gull? The bill looks too? strong for Caspian Gull / influence?

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
A 1st winter was picked out of the throng of Black-headed Gulls. Lucky to get a clear phone-scoped image.

Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei
An elegant Gull, two shown here, they looked striking when they finally lifted their heads confirming their identity. The protruding front end as well as the pink tinged to the adult's underparts was a key feature in finding them when roosting amongst the many Black-headed Gulls.