11 January 2016

Chicago Lakefront - First Cold Blast

We went from temps in the low 40s to low teens in about a 24 hour period between Saturday morning and Sunday morning. When these drastic weather shifts take place, the gulls tend to quickly reshuffle themselves, especially if the landfills are closed. Birders in Duluth must find it funny when we complain about temperatures in the teens down here in Chicago - I realize they regularly battle below-zero numbers in the winter season.

I stopped at a few lakefront spots on Sunday morning to see what I could find. Diversity was low, but it was obvious the gulls were restless. I found 1 adult Kumlien's and 6 Thayer's Gulls (5 adults and a 3rd/4th cycle type). Quite frankly, I was under-dressed and uder-prepared for the cold blast, as I was working my way up north for a meeting. Much more time was devoted to scanning from the warmth of my car, rather than photography.

My only sub-adult Thayer's of the day - all black base to the bill with a yellow tip. The iris is a light honey color and the wingtip is with plenty of pigment.

And to end with, an adult Thayer's with a relatively wide trailing edge. I don't think I've seen a THGU with inner primaries that have such thick white tips. Notice how the white cuts into the shaft of p2-p5 (very Slaty-backed and Vega like):