Baltic Gull L f fuscus
1: © Hannu Koskinen, 02-06-04; 2-3: © Visa Rauste, 11-07-04; 4-5: © Visa Rauste, 17-07-04; 6 © Visa Rauste, 11-07-04. Tampere, Finland.
CYHP was ringed as a pullus in Pälkäne, Finland. Superficially it resembles the western taxa, but upon arrival in Finland, CYHP had already replaced all visible wing coverts, the complete tail and many secondaries. Except for S1, all visible secondaries in the right wing in plate 6 appear to have been renewed; the left wing is not possible to judge properly. By mid-July, P5/6 has been dropped, P1-3 are fully grown and P4-5 are growing; such a small moult gap is regularly seen in fuscus. By that time, CYHP is also replacing scapulars and wing coverts to third generation feathers. The fresh third generation wing coverts show an internal pattern and a rather pale tone of grey, a unusual combination for fuscus.
7: © Visa Rauste, 14-05-05; 8: © Visa Rauste, 23-04-06. Tampere, Finland.
At a later age, the mantle and wing appeared to be much paler than the average fuscus. Birds such as CYHP are rare in Finland, but they occur. For now, it is unclear if CYHP simply demonstrates the variation within fuscus or if it represents the product of a hybrid pairing. In any case, the few birds like CYHP observed thus far do not resemble Heuglin's Gull in their second calendar year.