01 October 2019

Monthly Notables September 2019

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult type). Clallam County, Washington. 01 September 2019.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Bonner County, Idaho. 02 September 2019.
    • 1st County Record. Earliest State Fall Record. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Kodiak Island County, Alaska. 02 September 2019.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Barton County, Kansas. 02 September 2019.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Racine County, Wisconsin. 03 September 2019.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Muskegon County, Michigan. 03 September 2019.
  • Little Gull (adult type). Grand Folks County, North Dakota. 03 September 2019.
    • Migrant molting. 3-4 retained outer primaries.
  • Sabine's Gull (1st cycle). Virginia Beach County, Virginia. 06 September 2019.
  • Little Gull (adult). Lyman County, South Dakota 06 September 2019.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Brevard County, Florida. 11 September 2019.
    • 1st County Record from August 2019.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult). Keith County, Nebraska. 11 September 2019.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Washington County, Rhode Island. 12 September 2019.
  • Ring-billed Gull (3rd cycle type). Anchorage County, Alaska. 15 September 2019.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Kitsap & King County, Washington. 21 September 2019.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Clinton County, Illinois. 21 September 2019.
  • Bonaparte's Gull (adult). Coconino County, Arizona. 23 September 2019.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Monroe County, New York. 25 September 2019.
  • Thayer's Gull (adult). Santa Cruz County, California. 26 September 2019.

September 2019 Quiz

Age: Although the details of this dark, somewhat backlit individual are difficult to make out, the outermost primaries appear pointed enough, and tail feathers dark enough, to suggest 1st cycle.

Identification: It is obvious this gull is genuinely dark. What appears to be a sooty brown plumage isn't strictly a function of lighting conditions. The uniformly-filled undertail coverts and vent region reinforce its true darkness. The legs look black, and although lighting may be influencing this, they certainly don't look pale or pink. The bill is medium size with a fleshy base, complementing a relatively skinny neck and head. The wings appear narrow and noticeably long. The only regularly occurring North American gull that fits in this case is a young Heermann's Gull. A juvenile California Gull may cause confusion momentarily, but the undertail coverts and leg color don't work for even the darkest California Gull.

Our September bird is a juvenile Heermann's, photographed off the coast of Washington in August. From some 1800 Heermann's seen along the coast in late August, this was the only juvenile we encountered.