27 May 2017

Wisconsin May Run

Late spring through early summer often brings good gull diversity on the Wisconsin, Lake Michigan lakefront. Here, I can often find a few straggling northern species along with hooded migrants. Last Sunday was a great demonstration of this phenomenon with 10 species between Port Washington, Sheboygan and Manitowoc. Couple this with hundreds of sub-adult Herrings in high molt and the hours spent here are well worth any gull-watcher's time and effort.

The highlight for me was this hyper-melanistic 1st cycle Bonaparte's. I've seen 5 or 6 of these now, with this bird being the most cooperative. Although they're reported annually, these types are rare enough to make one do a double-take.

Possibly a 1st alternate Franklin's where all primaries are renewed
in the first plumage cycle (via PA1).

First cycle Lesser Black-backed (1st summer).

Second cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st summer).
Inner-primary molt signals PB2 has commenced.

Second cycle Great Black-backed Gull (1st summer).

Putative 2nd cycle Glaucous x Herring (1st summer). Photo 1 of 2.

Putative Glaucous x Herring. Photo 2 of 2.

Second cycle Thayer's Iceland Gull (1st summer). Photo 1 of 2.

2nd cycle Thayer's Gull with what appears to be a similar-aged Herring Gull.
Of interest is what appear to be adult-like tips to the 2nd generation (?) primaries coming
in on the Herring. Whether or not the Herring is a 1st summer bird is uncertain. Nonetheless,
I do have suspicions that 2nd basic primaries on some of our Herrings can appear adult-like.

1st summer Kumlien's Iceland Gull. Primary molt has likely begun
but no open wing was observed.

This 1st summer Glaucous Gull tried to go unnoticed but it's difficult to that when you tower over
everything around you. First summer Lesser Black-backed in the background