Eye Spy Nature in December
Winter plumage is on show on the pond at Petersfield Heath, confusing eager naturalists, especially when the name does not match what you are looking at!
Bird plumage can vary not only between seasons, but also between males, females and juveniles and it is all to do with a moult in progress. It is an easy mistake to assume a young herring gull is a different species from the adult since they appear very different. In fact, variation in plumage is very common, even between individuals. Buzzards show this clearly, with pale and dark forms occurring. Starlings in winter plumage appear black speckled with white, whereas in spring they develop their glorious pretrolly gloss.
What do you make of these black-headed gulls? Their black heads have disappeared for the winter, but will start to reappear from about now.
Black-headed gull in winter.