Kerala

Rare gull sighted at Puthuvype

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A rare breed of gulls has been sighted at Puthuvype in Ernakulam district by a birdwatcher from Kottayam.

According P.J. George, birdwatcher and English teacher at St. Dominic’s College, Kanjirappally, a pair of the rare Arctic-breeding Taimyr gulls were sighted on January 22. “This is first sighting of these gulls in Kerala, and the second in India. The first sighting was in Okha on January 12 this year,” he said.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Mr. George said he along with wildlife videographer Shah Jahan was in Kochi with the plan to visit Kadamakkudi when they heard that a large flock of Pallas gulls were nesting in Puthuvype. They were photographing and videographing the gulls, which included a large crowd of Pallas, Heuglin and Brownheaded and Blackheaded gulls when he spotted these two very different gulls.

The photographs and report were sent to Praveen Jayadevan and Prasad Ganpule, noted ornithologists who identified the presence of similar birds during the same period in Gujarat. The details were then sent to Klaus Olsen, the international authority on gulls.

“After detailed examination of the samples Olsen has confirmed that they are Taimyr gulls, one of the three large white-headed gulls. Olsen compared the pictures with his files from Japan and Korea and confirmed that these match them perfectly,” said Mr. George.

Taimyr gulls with lightly-spotted winter-head, much paler mantle, yellowish legs, and showing late moulting, are different from Heuglin and Steppe gulls, said Mr. George. According to him, they breed in the Arctic and a few have been found wintering in Iran and Bahrain. “Now, a couple of them seem to have come this far to bask in the sunshine on God’s Own Country!”

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Printable version | Nov 16, 2019 2:25:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rare-gull-sighted-at-puthuvype/article7635492.ece

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