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Introduction

Despite that fact that there are plenty of them in most coastal waters around the North Atlantic, there is probably no other group of species where there are larger gaps in our understanding of how to safely identify many of the taxa involved. Unclear taxonomy, extensive hybridization and enormous geographical and individual variation are some of the factors that contribute to making many individuals a real challenge. Still, in 2000 we know a lot more than we did just 10 years ago. In Europe, Pontic Gull L. (a.) cahinanns and Yellow-legged Gull L. (a.) michahellis have been sorted out as identifiable taxa, and so has Baltic Gull L. (f.) fuscus. Heuglin's Gull L.(f./a.) heuglini is still a more clouded matter. In North America, there have been much progress in understanding the Iceland/Thayer's Gull complex, and probably a lot more that we don't know about since we should probably stick to our European species and let the Americans sort out their own mess of extensive hybrid zones and other taxonomoic challenges. But keep your hands off the Thayer's Gull L. thayeri, it is clearly a good species!! (or the best bird ever to be found in Bergen will be reduced to subspecific level.....)

The trouble with gulls, is that even the most comprehensive ID-articles can't illustrate more than a fraction of the individual and geographical variation. Therefore, the various American web-sites dedicated to (mostly) North-American gulls has been a very valuable resource for us when we're trying to sort out a suspected vagrant gull such as Thayer's Gull, Kumlien's Gull L. g. kumlieni or American Herring Gull L. a. smithsonianus. From discussions on American mailing lists, it seems (not surprisingly) that birders in NA are as confused about European species and subspecies, as we are when we suspect a bird of American origin. Unfortunately, the number of pictures on offer on European web-sites are much lower. Therefore, our aim with "The Norwegian Gull Page" is to provide birders worldwide with an extensive picture gallery with comments, to serve as an ID reference source on our gulls in NW Europe.

The pictures you will see on this page are of variable quality. The main priority is to illustrate the variation in the best possible way. Therefore, some pictures slightly out of focus or with other imperfections have also been added, if they show any plumage variation where we have a shortage of pictures, or they show any kind of interesting detail. Please enjoy, and come back soon! Pictures will be added as often as possible.

Bergen, February 25th. 2000

Frode Falkenberg and Alf Tore Mjös

Photos

This site is continuously growing (now -22th. of February 2004- with 500 gull pictures), and without the help of photographers around Norway it would have been much poorer. The copyright for all photos displayed on these pages is held by the photographer. Each contributor is listed below with number of images.

Frode Falkenberg 271 images
Alf Tore Mjös 30 images
Haakon Heggland 22 images
Kjell Mjølsnes 16 images
Martin Eggen 13 images
Stein Engebretsen 12 images
Lars Erik Johannesen 12 images
Geir Rudolfsen 12 images
Nils Helge Lorentzen 11 images
Ingvar Grastveit 9 images
Morten Venaas 8 images
Inge Flesjå 7 images
Andreas Gullberg 7 images
Jon Stenersen 7 images
Jan Kaare Ness 6 images
Christian Tiller 6 images
Björn Berg 5 images
Terje Lislevand 5 images
Trond Einar Brobakk 4 images
Asbjørn Folvik 4 images
Kim Aaen 3 images
Jo Hafsmo 3 images
Kjetil Aa. Solbakken 3 images
Trond Sörhuus 3 images
Egil Frantzen 2 images
Morten Hage 2 images

Hans Jørgen Alfsen, Arild Hansen, Ketil Knudsen, Trygve Serck-Hanssen, Göran Högstedt, Torgeir Nygaard, Øyvind Schnell and Morten Vang have have all contributed with one picture each.

Thanks to all!

If anyone would let us use their gull photos we'd appreciate much. You could either send them in the post (e-mail for adress), or mail them to webmaster as a jpeg picture in quite high resolution. The exact date should be given when known, pictures which cannot be dated to the nearest month will be of less interest since the appearence of any gull is highly dependent on moult and wear, which again depend on time of year. The pictures will not be distributed without your permission.