I went out to Berrien County Michigan today to observe the relatively large number of Lesser Black-backeds, of which there were plenty, but much more surprising was this California Gull:
|California Gull (1st cycle). New Buffalo, MI. 27 October 2012.|
Overall, this bird appeared messier than the surrounding first cycle smithsonianus birds that were present, but I should mention that 1st cycle CAGUs on the West Coast currently appear much messier than this individual and don't have such "nice" looking post-juvenile scaps right now. Alvaro Jaramillo explained to me that this bird's upperwing coverts are exceptionally neat and appear very "Herring-like". The uniform gray on the scaps is also much "neater" than what is being seen on October CAGUs along the Pacific.
|Note the "double" wing bar formed by the darker bases to the greater coverts. It's not uncommon for CAGUs to have a few inner primaries with pale inner webs which resembles Herring.|
As for Lessers, I found at least 5 (3 first cycles, 2 adults) but probably could have pulled out another sub-adult if I had the time to comb through the incoming flocks. These birds use the beach as a preen/lube spot before roosting out on the lake for the night.
|First cycle LBBG|
|First cyle Lesser harassaing adult Ring-billed.|
|Two of the three young Lessers working the surf together.|
|My estimate of the number of American Herrings at this site is between 600-700 birds. It's not even November yet! WOW!!|
And one last shot of the Cali Gull's wings: