|Adult Slaty-backed Gull (L. schistisagus). Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. 10 December 2017.|
I found it at Lake Andrea around 1:00 pm after having spent the last 4.5 hours there, working a growing flock of Herring Gulls. The flock wasn't too shabby to begin with, giving up 11 Iceland
Gulls (7 thayeri, 3 kumlieni and 1 thayeri-kumlieni type), 3 Lesser Black-backeds and a Glaucous.
|String-of-pearls on p6-p8. Broken p5 subterminal band. No p9 mirror; Inner secondaries still growing.|
It flew in from the northeast, and I have to say, I sort of impressed myself with the split-second ID that took place with its first pass. Oddly, I was a little nonplussed and thought, "Oh, another Slaty-backed. I need to call someone. Dang, now I have to take off my gloves".
This is my second self-found in 3 years and 9th Slaty-backed "tick" between Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan since I got involved in this gull thing. To put some of this in perspective, I've seen just about as many California Gulls down here as I have Slaty-backed Gulls. Further, I can confidently say that Slaty-backed Gull is more common on Lake Michigan than Mew and Glaucous-winged Gull combined. Bizarre but true.
For the most part, the species is more likely to be detected on southern Lake Michigan after New Years, so this individual is a tad early - the earliest one I've seen yet.
|Heed the headlights! Not only is the trailing edge on adults spectacular, but the bold white leading edge is also unique, with prominent white headlights on the wrists.|
Several local birders hustled out to see the bird and weren't disappointed. It stuck around for several hours and occasionally got up and circled near us.
|A first for Kenosha County, Wisconsin.|
Surely a season highlight, and one that'll hopefully settle down in our region for the winter!