23 September 2012

IOS Carlyle Pe-lake-gic: 2012

Wes Serafin and I went down to Carlyle yesterday (22 Sept 2012) for the yearly IOS pelagic trip. The possibility of finding a phalarope, a jaeger or an "interesting" gull is just too exciting to pass up!

Captain McMullen with his group. The guy with the orange cap was a stray they picked up in the marina.

But as the saying goes, you can't see all the birds all the time. We got decent looks at a Red-necked Phalarope, no jaegers and this was my first time getting "skunked" on Sabine's for this trip. The writing was on the wall...with all of the Sabine's being seen on Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and other inland places, it seems there were none left for Carlyle this year (I hope they find one today to prove me wrong).

First cycle Franklin's Gull.
Adult-type Laughing Gull.
Second cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull.
First cycle Great Black-backed Gull.
The Great Black-backed is a very good sighting this far inland but even more so considering the date. It was first found here on 01 September 2012 by Dan Kassebaum and Dan Williams.

An unusual combination for September, in Illinios, is to see both black-backeds together:

Left to right: GBBG, American Herring and LBBG.
Having found a first Carroll County record Sabine's Gull on the Mississippi River just 6 days ago sort of alleviates the pain of dipping on the boat ride. Nonetheless, 7 species of gull is now my Illinois day high for September. The other three species we saw were expected: Bonaparte's, Ring-billed and American Herring.
First cycle Franklin's Gull.

19 September 2012

Frosty Ring-billed Juvenile

I photographed this frosty cinnamon Ring-billed juvenile on 09 Sept 2012 on the Chicago lakefront:

The cinnamon wash on the head, neck and upperwing coverts is not that uncommon, but the frosty aspect of this bird makes for an interesting combination. California Gull juveniles also occassionaly have this cinnamon aspect to them.

05 September 2012

2nd Cycle American Herrings in Michigan

Here are a few 2nd cycle Herrings photographed in Berrien County Michigan on 01 September 2012:

2nd cycle American Herring Gull.

The 10th primary is still not fully grown along with several inner secondaries, but aside from that, the 2nd prebasic molt is almost complete.

Same individual as above.
The bird below has a band that eluded me in the field (hence the reason for large color bands used by European ringers):

2nd cycle American Herring with leg band (juvenile in background).
I first found it standing in the water where the band was concealed:

Same individual as above.
The only PB2 flight feathers still growing are the secondaries adjacent to the tertials and the two outer primaries:

This next 2nd cycle had rather pale upperparts which made me consider the possibility of a few Glaucous genes. In particular, the greater coverts seem white-winged-ish to me, but everything else is within range for smithsonianus. PB2 is not as accelerated as in the individuals above (note the short wing projection):

2nd cycle American Herring Gull.

Are the upperparts too pale for a pure bird or is this the result of bleaching?

Finally, the 2nd generation upper scapulars on this last bird are somewhat accelerated. Also note the unmarked vent and lower belly area - this is more of a late October, early November look:

2nd cycle American Herring.