31 October 2018

Monthly Notables October 2018

  • California Gull (3rd cycle type). Richland County, Ohio. 01 October 2018.
    • Apparently the same individual found in Lorain County in late September. 
  • California Gull (adult). LaPorte County, Indiana. 04 October 2018.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). St. Charles County, Missouri. 05 October 2018.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle type). Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. 07 October 2018.
    • 1st for Philadelphia.
  • Herring Gull (adult). Yuma County, Arizona. 07 October 2018.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Snohomish County, Washington. 08 October 2018.
  • Mew Gull (2nd cycle). Allegan County, Michigan. 14 October 2018.
    • 9th State Record.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Arthabaska County, Quebec. 18 October 2018.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Ketchikan Gateway County, Alaska. 20 October 2018.
  • Glaucous Gull (1st cycle). Cameron Parish County, Louisiana. 21 October 2018.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Halifax County, Nova Scotia. 21 October 2018.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle & adult). Saint Pierre & Miquelon. 22 October 2018. 
  • Laughing Gull (2 adults). St. John's County, NF & Labrador. 22 October 2018.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Lane County, Oregon. 22 October 2018.
  • Western Gull (2nd cycle). Nueces County, Texas. 25 October 2018.
    • 4th State Record. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle type). Santa Cruz County, California. 26 October 2018.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle type). Cook County, Minnesota. 28 October 2018.
    • 9th State Record.

Miscellaneous Notes:

A small influx of Laughing Gulls was recorded in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the 3rd week of October. This was in all likelihood associated with hurricane conditions along the Atlantic.

October 2018 Quiz

Age: Both gulls appear to be typical adults with no traces of sub-adult plumes or bill patterns.

Identification: The only thing better than an open wing shot is two open wings for comparison. The gray upperparts are virtually equal in color, and so they're of little help. Suffice to say the gray is pale and any dark-backed species is immediately excluded.

Most useful are the wingtips. To the discerning eye, the bird in front has more extensive black pigment on the wingtip while the other shows limited black and more white. Not only this, the shade of black is slightly paler on the farther individual. The bird in front shows a fairly standard Herring Gull wingtip for the central and western part of the continent, and its pale eye and fairly strong bill agree with Herring as well. The farther individual shows a rather classic Iceland Gull wingtip with thayeri pattern on the 9th primary. The all-white tip to p10 and notable white tongue tips on p6-p8 also point to Iceland Gull. Also note the dusky eye and smudgy head markings, and hints of a smaller bill.

Our October Quiz birds - Adult Herring & Thayer's Gull - were photographed in Superior, Wisconsin in late November.

01 October 2018

Putative Chandeleur Gull - Back Again

Since at least Fall of 2006, this putative Kelp x Herring hybrid (Chandeleur Gull) is back again for another winter! I spent about an hour of quality time with it early Sunday morning on the beach in Michigan City.

I must admit the photos are underexposed, and the early morning glow gives a darker sheen to the upperparts.

It still shows black markings on all of the visible primaries. Notice the small, squared, mirror on p10 and the relatively late primary molt for this time of year. By mid-winter, there will be fine dark streaks to the head and neck, sparsely scattered throughout. Leg color will also dullen and start to show a sickly grayish color.