01 August 2017

Monthly Notables July 2017

  • Iceland Gull (1st summer). Suffolk County, New York. 01 July 2017.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st summer). Riverside County, California. 03 July 2017.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st summer). Wheatly, Ontario. 08 July 2017.
  • Laughing Gull (1st summer). Kiowa County, Colorado. 09 July 2017.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st summer). Toronto, Ontario. 13 July 2017.
  • California Gull (3rd summer type). Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. 14 July 2017.
    • 2nd summer record for state.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st summer type). Essex County, Massachusetts. 20 July 2017.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult type). LaPorte County, Indiana. 20 July 2017.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult type). Eddy County, New Mexico. 23 July 2017.
  • Mew Gull (adult). Cascade County, Montana. 23 July 2017.
  • Ring-billed Gull (adult). Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon County, Alaska. 24 July 2017.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Notre Dame Bay-Lewisporte County, Newfoundland. 27 July 2017.

1. A Great Lakes high count of 69 Lesser Black-backed Gulls was recorded in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on 14 July 2017. This site (North Point) has seen an increase in numbers of this species in the last 4 years, with mostly 1st and 2nd summer individuals present. This is a seasonal phenomenon brought on by a short bout of dying alewives near shore. No definitive adults present.
2. Multiple juvenile Heermann's Gulls were reported along the California coast this month with a high of 34 individuals in San Mateo County on 28 July 2017.

July 2017 Quiz

Age: The plain wing coverts, admixture of adult-like gray scapulars, single adult-like upper tertial and rounded primary tips all suggest a 2nd cycle type large gull.

Identification: The smudgy head, neck and breast appearance is reminiscent of Glaucous-winged Gull. The "muddy" plumage aspect to the upperparts is as if the bird was powdered with soot. Retaining a largely dark bill into 2nd cycle is also quite common for many Glaucous-wingeds. The only feature on this bird that raises some suspicion as to whether it may be a "pure" Glaucous-winged, is the paling iris. Most Glaucous-wingeds retain a dark eye, but some exceptional birds take on a pale eye (usually as they age, and not quite this young).

It helps to know that this bird was photographed in Grays Harbor, Washington. December. There is a large chance of some Western Gull genes at play, with a smaller chance of Herring Gull involvement. The very dark primaries may be viewed by some as a blocker for Glaucous-winged, but I don't see them as a problem for a bird with such closely matching tertials and greater coverts.

For what it's worth, here's what would be "safely" identified as a "classic" 2nd cycle Glaucous-winged. Seattle, Washington. January.

At any rate, we will settle for Glaucous-winged Gull for our July Quiz, with the unverifiable chance of some outside influence.