Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

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Pat Miller
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:36 am

Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Pat Miller » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:37 am

Hi Folks,
A friend of ours alerted my wife to a "golden seagull" that she has been seeing on the grass near the camper van carpark on "The Loop" all week (that's a world famous in Whangarei 4.6km walk around the Town Basin and environs for those of you in other parts of the country). We went to check it out yesterday and sure enough there it was - exactly where she said it was. It is a red-billed gull with red bill and legs and white iris as normal, but there the normality stops. The underparts are a goldy brown and the wings a darker brown. When walking around the primaries appear black and they haven't got the white windows, but when it flew there was a black bar across the wingtip a little way up from the end (on the left wing anyway). There was a small faint patch of white on the back of the head, but otherwise the head was the same as the underparts. We took some photos on a cell phone, but will go back today and try and take some with an SLR. Then I'll see if I can figure out how to attach some to this forum. It's an interesting looking bird. When we first spotted it some people disturbed it and it flew across the river but circled back to the right side further downstream towards Hihiaua, but when we went looking down there we couldn't find it, but 10 minutes later on our return it was back in its favourite spot where we had first seen it. It's not too nervous of people.
Cheerio,
Pat
Pat Miller
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:36 am

Re: Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Pat Miller » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:45 pm

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Here are a couple of photos downloaded from the cell phone. They have been resized to Medium. We couldn't find it when we had another look today when we had other cameras with us. I haven't done this before (added photos that is) so I hope this has worked.
Pat
Jake
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:53 am

Re: Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Jake » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:53 pm

Images came out well. I suspect that the gull has been exposed to something (pollution) that has stained its feathers, rather than any type of genetic or metabolic disorder.
Davidthomas
Posts: 887
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:05 am

Re: Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Davidthomas » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:39 am

I agree completely with Jake. I suspect some sort of oil staining causing the blonde colouration.
Pat Miller
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:36 am

Re: Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Pat Miller » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:20 pm

Reply to Jake & David : Well, that's what I initially suspected when I first saw photos of the bird that our friend had taken, but next morning when I actually saw the bird, I was convinced that this is not the case. The upper back is a dark grey as you can see in the photos, and the wings had no hint of the white windows, which I think they would have if it was merely the normal colouration being stained. Plus the plumage was in pristine condition, not clumped and messy like I would expect it to be if it was due to something like oil. I'm not up on all the different colour mutations, but one called progressive greying mentioned in another post on this forum some time ago, that's what I'm wondering about here. Otherwise some other mutation. If it's just had its feathers dyed, it's got a very good hairdresser!
Pat
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Mig
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:13 pm
Location: Northland

Re: Interesting Seagull in Whangarei

Postby Mig » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:25 am

Pat Our Doc Ranger Ayla sent us some photos of this bird also . We thought it had definitely been in a wash of some kind. Attached is an oiled bird from Whangarei harbour. Not yours but just for comparison
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