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8469: Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 2cy, February 09 2003, Etaples/
Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,01.34E).
A 2cy michahellis which has
replaced the head, neck, breast, belly and flanks to second generation in
the first pre-basic moult. The vent is still juvenile. It
also included some wing-coverts and tertials in this moult: In
the right wing, tertials #1-2, greater coverts #1-3, median coverts #1-3,
lower lesser coverts #1, #4-6, #8 and about nine lesser coverts are second
generation as well. The last moulted feathers (e.g. central median and
lower lesser coverts) show broad white tips. The old second generation
feathers (innermost greater and median coverts) have the tips already worn
The other wing-coverts, the tail feathers and flight-feathers are still juvenile.
Since the tail is closely folded, it seems to be predominantly dark, but
this only applies to the central rectrices.
Fresh scapulars with a broad pale tip can be found in the rear lower scapulars.
Its very difficult to tell exactly how many upper scapulars have been replaced
recently for third generation feathers. In 2cy michahellis it's common to find birds
starting to replace upper scapulars to third generation feathers, while
the rear lowest scapulars have only very recently been replaced for second
generation feathers. By this stage, this individual shows first generation
feathers (remiges, rectrices, most outer wing-coverts), second generation
feathers (the head, body, most scapulars and some inner wing-coverts) and at the
same time third generation feathers (a few lower upper scapulars).
This bird is illustrative for so-called "first winter" michahellis
by showing an almost snowy white head. Note however that in most
individuals of this age-class the head and neck are by no way pure white, with
delicate dark streaking
concentrated around the eye and extending on the nape. In the hind-neck,
2cy michahellis often shows a boldly streaked neck-collar. The
dark bill starts to turn paler at the base by February.