Presumed intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull
1: © Ruud Altenburg, 09-07-06; 2-3: © Mars Muusse, 09-07-06; 4: © Ruud Altenburg, 23-07-06. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
An example of a pale 2cy 'lesser black-backed gull' found in Amsterdam in the summer of 2006. More of such pale birds are found on Ruud Altenburg's site. Compared to the previous series of candidates, this is bird is less advanced, although it still has renewed the tail and all secondaries in the winter quarters. The complete moult has started rather late: in early July P4-10 still are present and P1 is not yet fully grown.
Currently there are no data about which taxon birds like this represent, but some clues suggest intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull. Many of these pale birds have in common that their primaries are heavily worn. This could mean that they have wintered in conditions that strongly influence the state of their plumage: the "paleness" could be directly related to wear and bleaching. Note that when not exposed to direct sunlight, the plain grey feathers look relatively dark. Another indication that such birds do not represent heuglini is the sheer number in which they appeared in Amsterdam. It would be unlikely that only this "type" of heuglini would pop up in relatively large numbers in the Netherlands. All of the above, however, is speculation. The fact is that these birds bear more than a superficial similarity to the first series of individuals in the section 2cy Heuglin's Gulls from Russia. What is really needed is a ringed intermedius proving this hypothesis. Therefore if you have photographs of a ringed 2cy Lesser Black-backed Gull similar to this individual, please contact the authors.