01 June 2023

May 2023 Monthly Notables


  • Black-tailed Gull (adult type). Capital District, British Columbia. 02 May 2023.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Sunbury County, New Brunswick. 02 May 2023.
  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Tarrant County, Texas. 02 May 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (7 adults). Washington County, New York. 03 May 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Erie County, Pennsylvania. 05 May 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (8: 7 ad., 1st cycle). Litchfield County, Connecticut. 08 May 2023.
    • Unprecedented inland record.
  • Little Gull (adult). Lucas County, Ohio. 09 May 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (adult). Essex County, Ontario. 09 May 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Dare County, North Carolina. 09-22 May 2023.
    • Atlantic Coast bird.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 12 May 2023.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Cook County, Illinois. 13 May 2023.
    • Continuing from April 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Toronto County, Ontario. 13 May 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 13 May 2023.
    • St. Paul Island.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). El Paso County, Colorado. 14 May 2023.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Grays Harbor County, Washington. 17 May 2023.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Pacific County, Washington. 18 May 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle type). Wayne County, New York. 19 May 2023.
    • 1st State Record. Same individual found in Lorain, Ohio; April 2023.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Clatsop County, Oregon. 25 May 2023.
    • Same individual found in Grays Harbor County, WA.
  • Black-tailed Gull (adult). Yakutat County, Alaska. 29 May 2023.
  • Ross's Gull (adult). Douglas County, Wisconsin. 31 May 2023.
    • 3rd State Record.
  • Ross's Gull (adult). St. Louis County, Minnesota. 31 May 2023.
    • 5th State Record. Same individual from Douglas County, WI.

1. New York got its 1st state record Heermann's Gull on 19 May 2023. A 2nd cycle individual was found in Wayne County by Jay McGowan. Plumage and time sequence suggest it's the same individual found in Lorain, Ohio in late April 2023, and in all likelihood the Baltimore, Maryland bird.

2. An incursion of inland kittiwakes took place this month, dotting several states throughout the northeast. Most noteworthy were sightings in New York and Connecticut (7 and 8 individuals, respectively). The majority of these individuals were adults flocking together, suggesting they were blown inland during migration.

3. To close out the month, Peder Svingen found an adult Ross's Gull off Wisconsin Point on Lake Superior. The bird drifted into Minnesota waters making it a wonderful two-fer. This sighting bolsters a precedence for Ross's Gulls found inland in May/early June. 

May 2023 Quiz


December. Michigan.

Age: The mottled brown aspect with pointed primary tips suggest a straightforward 1st cycle of a large four-year species. Almost all of the scapulars are post-juvenile feathers. As a side note, several inner wing coverts have been replaced which typically isn't expected in the 1st prealternate molt of this species.

Identification: The diffuse bill pattern, smudged neck and sides, and apparent dark tail seem fairly typical of American Herring. The secondary coverts, especially the greater coverts, seem more neatly barred than usual for smithsonianus, but not out of range. Our December bird, banded as a rehab hatch year, is indeed a 1st cycle American Herring Gull. The link below gives some life history on this individual, including an open wing photo:

Anything Larus: A Good Story: Rescued 1st Cycle Herring Resighted

01 May 2023

April 2023 Monthly Notables


  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st cycle). Calgary County, Alberta. 01 April 2023.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (3rd cycle). Bruce County, Ontario. 01 April 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 03 April 2023.
  • California Gull (adult). Talbot County, Maryland. 05 April 2023.
  • Western Gull (adult). Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska. 07 April 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). King County, Washington. 07 April 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Norfolk County, Ontario. 07 April 2023.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). New Castle County, Delaware. 07 April 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Chautauqua County, New York. 08 April 2023.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Graham County, Arizona. 08 April 2023.
  • Glaucous Gull (adult type). Galveston County, Texas. 09 April 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. 09 April 2023.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. 18 April 2023.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (3rd cycle). Fort McMurray, Alberta. 20 April 2023.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Bristol County, Massachusetts. 22 April 2023.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Lake County, Illinois. 22 April 2023.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Worcester County, Massachusetts. 23 April 2023.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Cameron Parish, Louisiana. 24 April 2023.
  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Tarrant County, Texas. 25 April 2023.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Cook County, Illinois. 26 April 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. 26 April 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Cook County, Illinois. 26 April 2023.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Mendocino County, California. 27 April 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Lorain County, Ohio. 29 April 2023.
    • 2nd State Record. Possibly the 2nd cycle individual from Baltimore County, Maryland.

April 2023 Quiz


September. Michigan.

Age: Pointed primary tips, barred upper tail coverts and an overall uniform dark brownish-black plumage points to a 1st cycle large gull.

Identification: There are several important features to hone in on when looking at an open wing of a 1st cycle large gull: The inner primary pattern, the tail pattern and the greater coverts. Here we see dark inner primaries with very little contrast (as found in California Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull). The dark tail is found in a number of species, but note the uppertail coverts have a noticeable white base color (not brownish). The outer greater coverts are largely dark, and the upperparts have prominent pale edging. All of these features, when combined, are consistent with the aforementioned, juvenile California and Lesser Black-backed Gull, and this image alone would likely yield and inconclusive identification without more context. Here is the perched bird next to 1st cycle American Herring Gull. 

Given the location, plain and dark tertials with prominent pale edging, and all black bill, it is quite evident this is a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.

02 April 2023

March 2023 Monthly Notables


  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). San Juan County, New Mexico. 04 March 2023.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (adult type). Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 05 March 2023.
    • 2nd State Record*. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Clark County, Washington. 06 March 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). St. John's County, Newfoundland. 06 March 2023.
    • Continuing from Feb 2023. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). San Mateo County, California. 06 March 2023.
    • No longer a state review species, but age noteworthy.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle x 2). Hancock County, Mississippi. 08 March 2023.
    • Review List Species in MS.
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 09 March 2023.
    • Different than the returning adult from last month.
  • Common Gull (adult). Lorain County, Ohio. 11 March 2023.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (adult). Monterey County, California. 11 March 2023.
    • 1st County Record. Likely the Santa Cruz Co. bird from Dec 2022.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Cook County, Illinois. 11 March 2023.
    • 3rd State Record, all from Cook County.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Lake County, Indiana. 11 March 2023.
    • 2nd State Record. Same individual from Illinois. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Kent County, Michigan. 11 March 2023.
  • Little Gull (adult). Marion County, Indiana. 13 March 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 15 March 2023.
  • Little Gull (adult). Knox County, Tennessee. 15 March 2023.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Pacific County, Washington. 18 March 2023.
    • 10th State Record.
  • Common Gull (2 adults). Windham County, Connecticut. 19 March 2023.
    • The continuing bird from January joined by a second adult.
  • Kumlien's Gull (adult). Sitka County, Alaska.20 March 2023.
  • Sabine's Gull (6 adults). San Diego County, California. 21 March 2023.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Chatham County, North Carolina. 21 March 2023.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (200*). Chatham County, North Carolina. 21 March 2023.
  • Little Gull (adult). Shelby County, Tennessee. 21 March 2023.
    • 2nd County Record.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult type). Tom Green County, Texas. 27 March 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Virginia Beach, Virginia. 28 March 2023.
    • Presumed Atlantic coast bird, drifting north this month. 
  • California Gull (adult). Talbot County, Maryland. 28 March 2023.
  • Thayer's Gull (adult). Cameron Parish, Louisiana. 29 March 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 30 March 2023.
    • Now in 2nd alternate, appearing much more like a 3rd cycle.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult - 2). Labrador-Happy V-G Bay County, NL. 31 March 2023.
    • 1st March Record for Labrador. 
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Bronx County, New York. 31 March 2023.
  • Amazingly, only 2 months after the 1st State Record Glaucous-winged Gull was found in Ohio, Anthony Rodgers found another, this time an adult, less than a half mile away from his first find.
  • A mixed flock of 200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Chatham County, North Carolina is noteworthy. Trenton Voytko reported ~85% adults, inland at Jordan Lake SRA.

March 2023 Quiz


California. January.

Age: Juvenile-like flight feathers (especially the primaries) with overall brown aspect and black bill suggest 1st cycle.

Identification: This large chocolaty 1st cycle shows a swollen bill tip (bulbous-tipped), smooth brown pattern on the body, deep keel and broad wings. American Herring and Western Gull come to mind, and given the bill structure, relatively small eye placed high on a large face, and dark inner primaries, there is much going for Western. Note the distinct white trailing edge to the secondaries. This is regularly found in Western Gull, and not expected in American Herring. The broad line of pale notching along the greater covert tips also supports Western Gull, which this is. 

01 March 2023

February 2023 Monthly Notables


  • Vega Gull (2nd cycle). Clatsop County, Oregon. 02 February 2023.
    • A remarkable sighting as most records outside of Alaska pertain to adults.
  • California Gull (adult). Benton County, Tennessee. 02 Feb 2023
    • Presumably a returning bird from Feb 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Faulkner County, Arkansas. 03 Feb 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Travis County, Texas. 07 Feb 2023
    • 1st County Record.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Dona Ana County, Arizona. 08 February 2023.
  • Common Gull (adult). Essex County, New York. 09 February 2023.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). St. Lucie County, Florida. 09 February 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th alternate). Volusia County, Florida. 09 February 2023.
    • The Atlantic coast bird, moving between Florida and North Carolina this month.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. 10 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st State Record from last month.
  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Essex County, Massachusetts.10 February 2023.
  • Common Gull (adult). Niagara County, New York. 12 February 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Franklin County, Indiana. 12 February 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Santa Cruz County, California. 13 February 2023.
    • A pale-winged individual.
  • California Gull (adult). Elkhart County, Indiana. 17 February 2023.
  • California Gull (adult). Santa Rosa County, Florida. 17 February 2023.
    • 1st County Record.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 19 February 2023.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult). Bent County, Colorado. 20 February 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Franklin County, Washington. 20 February 2023.
    • Returning adult continuing between Franklin & Benton. 
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 23 February 2023.
    • Returning adult since at least Feb 2021. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 24 February 2023.
    • 4th State Record. A different individual than the 3rd State Record in January 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th alternate). Brunswick County, North Carolina. 25 February 2023.
    • The Atlantic coast bird, moving between Florida and North Carolina this month.
  • California Gull (adult). Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 25 February 2023.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Berrien County, Michigan. 25 February 2023.
    • Last county record 01 Jan 1993!
  • Common Gull (adult). Bristol County, Rhode Island. 26 February 2023.
    • Continuing 3rd State Record from last month.
  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 26 February 2023.
    • Continuing from last month.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 27 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st State record bird from March 2022.
  • Common Gull (adult). Tolland & Windham County, Connecticut. 27 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st County record between Tolland and Windham. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (subadult). St. John's County, Newfoundland. 28 February 2023.


1.    Lesser Black-backed Gull numbers in the Kennessee and Ohio River Valley region continue to increase annually while numbers on the western Great Lakes appear to have decreased in recent winters. Noteworthy are reports of over 40 individuals from Benton County, Tennessee this month.
2.    California had no less than 10 reports of Lesser Black-backed this month, with roughly half of these coming from Monterey County and points north.
3. The Fairfield County, CT Kamchatka Gull and Bristol County, RI Common Gull went missing for most of the month, suggesting an observer bias, or these birds may in fact cover a rather large winter-feeding area.