Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: 21-10-2005)

Mediterranean Gull 2AY adult, February 06 2003, Le Portel /Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).

This individual is ringed: left white 2AY. From late summer to September, a complete moult takes place, bringing birds into so-called "adult winter" plumage. The head pattern in wintering bird resembles "first winter plumage" after finishing the complete moult: a blackish mask behind the eye. 

The next moult in Mediterranean Gull is again a partial moult, from January to April, and includes body and head, leaving birds in so-called "adult summer" plumage from early April onwards. The head develops a jet-black hood, extending down the nape. Adult birds have broad white crescents above and below the eye.

In this individual 2AY, the head pattern is extensive, with half of the hood ready by early February. The mantle, scapulars, tertials and all the wing-coverts are plain pale grey. 
The secondaries are completely white. The adult primaries are shiny pearly-grey, flashing white at a distance. There is a black line along the outer-web of P10. The secondaries, the under-wing and the tail are completely white. The bare part coloration by February: Iris brown, orbital ring red or orangey-red, the bill red or orangey-red with a black bill-band (and a yellowish tip) and the legs dull reddish or dark.

White 2AY was ringed as pullus on June 06 1999 in the breeding colony of Zandvlietsluis at Antwerpen, Belgium (51.20N,04.17E). It was then seen at Le Portel, NW France (50.42N,01.34E) from August 10 1999 to February 13 2001. It was seen 54 times, every month (except May 2000, November 2000 and January 2001). Early spring 2001 it was seen shortly at Zeebrugge voorhaven, Belgium (51.20N,03,11E) on March 31 2001 and then reappeared at the same colony of Zandvlietsluis, Belgium, from April 03 to May 23 2001. It returned to Le Portel to complete the summer moult from July 24 2001 to March 01 2002. During this period it was seen 19 times.
Again, it reappeared at Zandvlietsluis in 2002 and was seen from March 31 to July 07 2002. Quickly after it was last seen in Belgium, it turned up at Le Portel: from July 16 2002 until at least February 27 2003, where it spend the winter months.