Gull in first summer plumage was resting with the Ring-billed and
Herring Gulls at Montrose Point on the morning of 14 June 2005. The
visible primaries on the standing bird were almost entirely black,
showing just very small white tips. My feeling is that these primary
feathers (P7 through P10) are retained juvenile feathers. In the second
photo in the second row below, you can see the patterning on P6, with
a larger white tip to this feather as well as a subterminal black
band with white separating it from the inner gray of the feather.
The white tips of the inner primaries are normally broader than those
of the outer primaries on a typical first summer bird. Thus, it may
be that this bird has molted all its primary feathers and just has
unusually small white tips. However, it appears to me that it is more
likely that this feather (P6) is the outermost of the molted primaries.
Unfortunately, my photos were not crisp enough to allow a clear examination
of the state of wear of these outer primaries. In some of the shots,
it appears that the tips are worn and jagged in places (see especially
the bottom left photo below), but I can't be 100% sure of this from
page was last updated on 14 June 2005.
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