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8959: Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 2cy, mid-March 2003, Etaples/
Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,01.34E).
A 2cy michahellis, much resembling
2cy Herring Gull. Note however that this individual has an advanced moult
stage, as it has replaced the head, neck, breast, most of the belly and flanks to second generation
the first pre-basic moult (post-juvenile moult). The vent is still juvenile.
This partial moult also included some wing-coverts:
the inner greater coverts, some median coverts, lower lesser coverts and a
few lesser coverts have been replaced for second
generation feathers. By March, the exact sequence is very hard to detect
as the juvenile wing-coverts are very abraded and bleached and the second
generation wing-coverts required in an early stage (July-August) are very
hard to separate from old juvenile feathers. The tail-feathers and flight-feathers are still
Fresh scapulars with a broad pale tip can be found in the lowest scapulars.
Its 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).
Note that in most 2cy 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.