02 January 2014

Lesser Black-backeds on the Yucatan Peninsula

A five day trip to the state of Quintana Roo yielded 7-8 LBBGs. These birds were found at various stops on the eastern shoreline from Cancun down to Xcaret. Interestingly, all were first winter birds (the exception was a second winter individual).

Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Cancun, Mexico. 27 Dec 2013.

LBBG is steadily increasing throughout the Caribbean Sea. Whether these birds have a north-south migration route (presumably from northern North America) or a east-west migration route (presumably from southwest Europe and northwest Africa) remains to be seen. Perhaps it's a combination of both?

Another interesting observation that I made on this trip was the ratio of 1st cycle Laughing Gulls to adult-types. It seemed that there were perhaps 3 first cycle Laughings for every adult-type:

Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Cancun, Mexico. 29 Dec 2013. Limited Preformative molt.
Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Xcaret, Mexico. 29 Dec 2013. A rather extensive preformative molt, with mostly replaced upperwing coverts and tertials.
Laughing Gull (adult-type). Cancun, Mexico. 27 Dec 2013.