Identifying birds gets decidedly tricky the more you look into them.
Bird types can change depending on whether you are looking at a male or female.
Or what time of year it is.
Juveniles can look very different from the adults they’ll eventually turn into.
Take the moorhen for example.
On the left is a juvenile I saw on the river Dart today.
The moorhen on the right is the adult version you more normally see (I didn’t see that though) Its now got a red beak and looks less brown and more black bodied.
Likewise the black headed gull has significant changes of appearance on maturity.
Juvenile here minus choccy head Adult here, with a choccy head
Seen today on the river Dart Seen on Meadfoot beach July 2017
What makes a positive id of blackheaded gulls – both juveniles and adults – even trickier, is how similar to mediterranean gulls they look.
Anyway, here’s a vid of the juvenile moorhen and juvenile black headed gull seen on the river Dart in Totnes (next to Morrisons) today.
The moorhen, to my eyes, is like a fancy-footed water chicken. It was amusingly flick flicking up its white botty.
The black headed gull was in itchy twitch mode.
Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet