Following on from last night's post it seems that Mr Mullarney just isn't going to fade away. On a slightly more serious note some emails have been flying hither and thither and it has now been suggested that 'the small black dots that had developed so rapidly above and behind the eye were actually feather-lice'.
KM went on to say 'I am reminded of having very recently seen some photos of a different Ivory Gull, an adult-type, but it too (if I remember correctly) had a few tiny, neat black dots around the eye and the suggestion was that these indicated it must be a second-winter, with retained traces of immaturity. I don't remember exactly where I came across these photos but perhaps, now that we are aware of them, we will notice them more often?'.
This certainly takes ID to new and unexpected levels, perhaps a challenge for the 'macro' photographers to help us understand.