02 October 2021

Monthly Notables September 2021

Sightings:

  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Calgary County, Alberta. 01 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Power County, Idaho. 01 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Rankin County, Mississippi. 01 September 2021.
  • Common Gull (2nd cycle). Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. 02 September 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Duval County, Florida. 02 September 2021. 
    • The same waif on the Atlantic coast since August 2019.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). New Haven County, Connecticut. 03 September 2021.
    • 3rd State Record. 
  • Short-billed Gull (juvenile). North Battleford County, Saskatchewan. 04 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). New Haven County, Connecticut. 04 September 2021.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Lake County, Illinois. 04 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Franklin County, Pennsylvania. 05 September 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Ocean County, New Jersey. 06 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Osage County, Kansas. 07 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Marion County, Indiana. 08 September 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 08 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). York County, Maine. 09 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Jefferson County, Illinois. 09 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Natrona County, Wyoming. 10 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Prince William County, Virginia. 10 September 2021.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). De Baca County, New Mexico. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 1st State Record. 
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 2nd State Record.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Natrona County, Wyoming. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 3rd State Record.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Umatilla County, Washington. 12 September 2021. 
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Onondoga County, New York. 15 September 2021.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Lyon County, Kentucky. 17 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Rockingham County, Virginia. 17 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Barton County, Kansas. 17 September 2021. 
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Rockingham County, Virginia. 17 September 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Sitka County, Alaska. 18 September 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Colfax County, New Mexico. 18 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Bergen County, New Jersey. 21 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Forsyth County, Georgia. 21 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Desha County, Arkansas. 22 September 2021.
  • California Gull (adult). Dubuque County, Iowa. 25 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Walla Walla County, Washington. 26 September 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Comox-Strathcona, British Columbia. 28 September 2021.
  • Iceland Gull (adult). Shelby County, Illinois. 28 September 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). San Diego County, California. 28 September 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Beaufort County, South Carolina. 30 September 2021.
    • The same waif on the Atlantic coast since August 2019.

Notes:

1. Most unusual this month is two reports of Yellow-footed Gull at inland lakes in the Southwest. Both 1st cycles, and both reported on the same day, hours apart. The birds lingered allowing many people to leisurely add this species to their AZ & NM state lists. These reports, if accepted, would be a 1st state record for New Mexico, and a 2nd state record for Arizona. The New Mexico sighting would be the easternmost occurrence for the species. 

2. Ample Sabine's Gulls were reported inland this month, with an above average occurrence of adults. Little Gulls were also reported in higher than usual numbers west of the Mississippi River.   

September 2021 Quiz

 

California. September. 

Age: This is a large four-cycle species. Based on the bill pattern and marked primary coverts (beneath the central greater coverts where a swath of secondaries are missing), we might be correct in assuming this is a subadult, or near adult. The outermost primaries, p8-p10, are yet to grow, as well as a substantial number of secondary feathers. Thus, this bird is completing its prebasic molt. 

Identification: The heavily marked breast with dense horizontal markings, medium gray upperparts, blocky head and relatively small, dark eye nicely match Glaucous-winged Gull. However, the dark, contrasting primaries (out to p7) suggests hybridization. Glaucous-winged Gulls on the Pacific coast of North America commonly hybridize with Herring and Western Gull in two central hybrid zones, in the Cook Inlet region and the Pacific Northwest, respectively. This individual more closely matches a hybrid with Western Gull, and that's what it was identified as (so-called Olympic Gull). 


01 September 2021

August 2021 Quiz

 

December. Illinois.

Age: Our quiz bird in the center of the frame appears to be an adult black-backed species, but the extensive black on the bill is excessive for an adult. An open wing may reveal subadult features on the plumage. The smaller white apicals are also atypical of adults. Such birds are best referred to as "adult type", which implies some ambiguity in age. 

Identification: Adult black-backed species can be sorted into two groups: those with yellow legs and those with pink legs. This individual appears to have intermediate leg color -- not the obvious pink seen on the two Herrings in the foreground, but also not the mustard-yellow seen on the Ring-billeds in the background. The legs do, however, have a dull yellow cast to them, which is not uncommon in adult type Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The bill pattern too is found on a good number of adult type Lessers. The size and structure seem to fit that species, and the clear iris and finer head streaking also support Lesser. It's upright posture and lowered wings give the body a rotund shape, almost recalling Slaty-backed Gull, and from a distance, such a wide tertial crescent may excite observers. But the attenuated look to the wings, leg color and extensive black on the bill all combine to make our August Quiz a relatively straightforward Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Monthly Notables August 2021

Sightings:

  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 05 August 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Valdez-Cordova County, Alaska. 06 August 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Churchill & Manitoba County, Manitoba. 04 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Monterey County, California. 07 August 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). New Haven County, Connecticut. 07 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Sitka, Alaska. 11 August 2021.
    • Presumed graellsii. p1-p5 renewed, p6 half grown, p7 missing, p8-p10 old; mirror on p9 & p10.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Calgary County, Alberta. 11 August 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Duval County, Florida. 13 August 2021.
    • The same waif that has been on the Atlantic coast since August 2019. Now in 3rd basic plumage.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Meeker County, Minnesota. 14 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Harrison County, Georgia. 14 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Washington County, Rhode Island. 14 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Cook County, Illinois. 17 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Banff County, Alberta. 17 August 2021.
  • Thayer's Gull (2nd cycle). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 18 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Cochrane County, Ontario. 19 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2 juveniles). Tompkins & Broome County, New York. 19 August 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Fairfax County, Virginia. 17 August 2021.
    • 3rd county record.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. 22 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Fremont County, Wyoming. 22 August 2021.
  • Common Gull (2nd cycle). Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. 23 August 2021.
    • Nominate canus.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Fairfax County, Virginia. 25 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Power County, Idaho. 26 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Power County, Idaho. 26 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). La Haute-Cote-Nord County, Quebec. 26 August 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Anchorage County, Alaska. 26 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Dare County, North Carolina. 28 August 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Ketchikan Gateway County, Alaska. 29 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult type). Escambia County, Florida. 30 August 2021.


01 August 2021

Monthly Notables July 2021

Sightings:

  • Iceland Gull (2nd cycle). Monroe County, New York. 01 July 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Monroe County, Michigan. 02 July 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 03 July 2021.
  • Black-tailed Gull (adult type). Lake & Peninsula County, Alaska. 03 July 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Marin County, California. 05 July 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle). Sonoma County, California. 05 July 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle). Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. 06 July 2021.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle type - 2). Marinette County, Wisconsin. 06 July 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Muskingum County, Ohio. 08 July 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 10 July 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Keith County, Nebraska. 10 July 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Norfolk County, Ontario. 11 July 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (juvenile). Ketchikan Gateway County, Alaska. 16 July 2021.
    • 5th for Ketchikan. 
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Lyon County, Nevada. 19 July 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Chittenden County, Vermont. 22 July 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (2nd cycle). Ocean County, New Jersey. 26 July 2021.
  • Common Gull (adult). Cape Race, Newfoundland. 26 July 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (juvenile). Clatsop County, Oregon. 26 July 2021.
    • Likely a new early "fall" arrival record for this age group.

Notes:

  1. Ring-billed Gulls nested in Jackson County, Colorado this season. Nicholas Komar reported more than 40 half grown chicks on 03 July, 2021 at Walden Reservoir, marking the first confirmed breeding in the state since 1900.
  2. 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls reported by Peter Paul in Queens County, New York should be a high count for the county (07 July 2021). Summering Lessers are more common farther east on Long Island, such as in Nassau County. 
  3. 13 Little Gulls were reported in a "colony" in Churchill, Manitoba by Ashley Westphal on 22 July 2021.

July 2021 Quiz

 

January. Washington.

Age: The pointed primary tips, neatly patterned wing coverts and tertials, and overall appearance suggest a 1st cycle gull. The warm mottling on the breast and underparts are also typical of a 1st cycle.

Identification: This appears to be a member of the white-headed gulls (as opposed to the smaller tern-like or hooded species). The bill is strikingly petite and "short". At first glance it would seem this is an Iceland Gull due to the pale primary edges, icy-gray post-juvenile scapulars and overall frosty appearance to the upperparts. But we'd be pressed to find a 1st cycle Iceland with this much solid gray on the back in January. This is a 1st cycle Short-billed Gull (L brachyrhynchus), formerly known as Mew Gull in North America. Individuals with this plumage aspect are sometimes described as "mini Thayer's", and overall the plumage patterns are similar. In the field -- which can't be appreciated here -- the diminutive size of this species would be quite obvious. 

01 July 2021

Monthly Notables June 2021

 Sightings:

  • Iceland Gull (2nd cycle type). Niagara County, New York. 01 June 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 - 2nd cycle types). Keith County, Nebraska. 01 June 2021.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Nome County, Alaska. 03 June 2021.
    • Nome River mouth. A one-year old in 1st alternate plumage.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (adult type). Harney County, Oregon. 03 June 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 03 June 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 04 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Cape May County, New Jersey. 04 June 2021.
    • 1st State Record continuing until at least this date.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Nome County, Alaska. 06 June 2021.
    • Gambell Seawatch. A different one-year old than the Nome bird.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Inyo County, California. 07 June 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Imperial County, California. 08 June 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Anchorage County, Alaska. 09 June 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Cape May County, New Jersey. 09 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult type). Bruce County, Ontario. 09 June 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Comox-Stathcona District, British Columbia. 10 June 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Nassau County, New York. 15 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). San Juan County, Utah. 16 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Chatham County, Georgia. 18 June 2021.
    • Back after a three month hiatus.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Sangamon County, Illinois. 19 June 2021.
  • California Gull (4th cycle type). Erie County, Pennsylvania. 20 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle/1st alternate). Becker County, Minnesota. 20 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Beaufort County, South Carolina: 21 June 2021.
    • 1st STATE RECORD. The same waif that has made the Atlantic coast its home since August 2019.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 - 2nd/3rd cycle types). Portage la Prairie Area County, Manitoba. 23 June 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). North Slope County, Alaska. 24 June 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 26 June 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Nueces County, Texas. 29 June 2021.

Notes:

1. The 62nd Supplement to the AOS Checklist now treats what was formerly Mew Gull in North America as a separate species from the Old World taxa. Short-billed Gull is the new name for Larus brachyrhynchus. With this split, the ABA Checklist will have a total of 31 gull species. 

2. "The" Heermann's Gull of Florida-fame, subsequently found in Georgia, then Virginia, then Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey, made its way back south to Georgia and then South Carolina this month. By my count, this bird has provided a total of 5 new "state firsts" in 2021, and counting. 

3. Coverage by several parties in the Aleutians yielded several Red-legged Kittiwake sightings this month. Up to 20 individuals were found between Aleutians East and Aleutians West County, Alaska throughout June, all presumably adult types. These are among the highest counts for the species this far south and east in some years.