14 December 2014

Black-backeds & White-wingers

I smelled trouble stirring early last week when I read the weekend forecast calling for upper 40-degree temperatures in the Chicago area. Both Saturday and Sunday made it above 50F, with a high of 54 degrees recorded on southern Lake Michigan today (14 Dec 2014). To top it off, overcast skies dominated all of Saturday and most of the day Sunday.

Despite a notable absence of gulls at some of our better gull-watching sites, I still managed to see all five of our winter species with a bit of effort!

Saturday: 13 Dec 2014; Rainbow Beach, Chicago, IL.

GBBG (adult type).
GBBG (adult type).
LBBG (2nd cycle type).
LBBG (2nd cycle).
LBBG (2nd cycle) with Ring-billed (adult) and Herring (1st cycle).
Sunday: 14 Dec 2014; Whiting, IN.

GLGU (2nd cycle).
GLGU (2nd cycle) with adult type Herring.
GLGU (2nd cycle).
GLGU (2nd cycle).
GLGU (2nd cycle) with HERGs.
A heavy-billed, dusky-eyed 3rd/4th cycle type Thayer's Gull.
THGU (3rd/4th cycle type).
Thayer's (3rd/4th cycle type) on far left, with 3 Herrings on right.
THGU (3rd/4th cycle type) with similar-aged HERG (right) and adult type HERG (left).
A shot of both the sub-adult Thayer's and the Glaucous in one frame...not the best photo, but it captures the day's highlights for me:

Here's a nice hatch year Ring-billed to conclude this post. Note how well it's holding on to its juvenile flank, chest and neck feathers. Most similar-aged RBGU's have for some time now shown mostly whitish feathers here, with variable streaking on the head and hindneck that's not as extensive as this:

 RBGU (1st cycle).

RBGU (1st cycle).