Those gulls again

Subject: Those gulls again
From: "C B" <>
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 21:40:02 +0800
Hey all,

Enjoying our trip over here in the east. Birding in VIC wasn't a huge success, but did get to see a flock Gang-gangs which made up for it.

NSW has proved better with about 20 new species for me. Full trip list will come later.

The 'strange Silvergull' question has been asked before on Birding-Aus, and I am bringing it up again to try and find out if any definate identification has been made of these sightings. In Perth going back to about 1994 I used to sometimes see 'silvergulls' with pale orange/peach coloured bills and feet. I thought nothing of this until reading something by F.O'Connor many years later commenting similar birds had been seen elsewhere in Perth, this was then replied by others seeing similar birds.

Once again I have come across this Gull in my travels. I saw it on the 15th May along The Foreshore in Newcastle NSW. I didn't not get a real good look at it. Today I saw another gulll at Circular Quay in Sydney. The bird was much smaller than the Silvergulls around the place. The bill, feet and legs were pale peach with black splotches. The bill shape was shorter that that of the Silvergull, less tappered. Most obvious were the black primaries - tipped WHITE not black - and the flight was boyant, less deliberate strokes than a Silvergull and wings were obviously shorter. The eye was black. I got the oppertunity to take photos of this bird and will post them when I return home. In addition the Silvergulls over here (NSW) appear a lot larger than those back home - even my non-birding boyfriend has commented on this. Is there a subspecies or race differing birds in the west and the east?

I have only got a copy of Pizzey & Knight 1997 with me, and so cannot check with newer field guides right now - but I would be interested to know that since many of us are reporting this species around Australia (even if I cannot remember what it is), would it be wise to suggest that this species is becoming a more frequent visitor and should perhaps be considered for inclusion in such guides ect? We include other vagrant species that have not been sighted for 20 years or more.

Anyway, enough ramblings from a tired birdo on the road. If anyone has a species ID for the birds I have been seeing please give me a bell. I'll check in at another internet cafe sometime soon.


Claire on the Road

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