28 January 2016

The Smell of Progress - Lesser Black-backed Resight

Last winter, Michael Brothers and Jay Barry from the Marine Science Lab began banding Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Volusia County, Florida. The first bird to be banded was Green F:001. You may recall I photographed this individual in Daytona Beach Shores last January:

Green F:001 in its 1st plumage cycle. Volusia County, FL. 24 January 2015.

While on gull patrol at the Brevard County Landfill last week, I refound our friend, almost one year later to the day - totally unexpected, roughly 70 miles south of where it was banded the previous winter!

Green F:001 in its 2nd plumage cycle. Brevard County, FL. 23 January 2016.
Now in 2nd winter garb, I was most surprised by how adult-like the iris and body feathers appear. Compared to many other similar-looking 2nd cycles, F:001 shows quite a bit of head streaking but with all-white uppertail coverts.

Open-wing shots from 1st to 2nd cycle:


My shift on the top of the hill was well-rewarded. This sighting is a strong indicator that there is some winter site-fidelity with the Lessers found in east-central Florida. There's much more work to be done and thanks to Michael and Jay for helping "crack the code" in determining where these birds are coming from, where they reside in the breeding season and where they go in the winter.

You can see more of F:001 in 1st basic here.

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