30 September 2020

Monthly Notables September 2020


  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle type). Sitka County, Alaska. 02 September 2020.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle). Huron County, Ontario. 02 September 2020.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Glynn County, Georgia. 04 September 2020.
    • Continuing from June 2020.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle). Prince County, Prince Edward Island. 04 September 2020.
    • Continuing from July 2020. 
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Lane County, Oregon. 06 September 2020.
  • Little Gull (2 - 1st cycles). Cook County, Illinois. 07 September 2020.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Inyo County, California. 09 September 2020.
    • 2nd County Record. 
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Jefferson County, Colorado. 11 September 2020.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Pictou County, Nova Scotia. 15 September 2020.
  • Sabine's Gull (7 - juveniles). Bay County, Michigan. 16 September 2020.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Norfolk County, Ontario. 16 September 2020.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Mendocino County, California. 16 September 2020. 
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Juneau County, Alaska. 16 September 2020.
  • Little Gull (adult). Johnson County, Iowa. 19 September 2020.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Mississauga, Ontario. 21 September 2020.
    • 1st September Record locally, and for the entire Great Lakes region.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Maricopa County, Arizona. 20 September 2020.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult type). Keith County, Nebraska. 20 September 2020.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Pierce County, Washington. 24 September 2020.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). San Miguel County, Colorado. 24 September 2020.
    • 1st County Record.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Yavapai County, Arizona. 24 September 2020.
    • 1st County Record.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Douglas County, Wisconsin. 26 September 2020.
  • Red-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle type). Nanaimo District, British Columbia. 27 September 2020.
1. There was an above average presence of Little Gulls throughout the lower 48 this month, many in mostly fresh juvenile plumage. 

2. Lesser Black-backed numbers were likely the highest they've ever been in September throughout the interior, especially in the far southwest United States.

3. A 2nd cycle type Red-legged Kittiwake was observed for less than an hour in Deep Bay (Vancouver Island). This appears to be the 2nd occurrence of this species in BC.

September 2020 Quiz

Wisconsin. February.

Age: Profile and stature suggest a large-white headed gull. An open wing would be helpful for such a plumage aspect, but the overall muted and plain pattern to the tertials and upperwing coverts, as well as the amount of adult-like gray on the back, suggest a 2nd cycle type gull. The primaries, particularly p7-p8, are gently rounded at the tips, which should help move us away from 1st cycle. The bill pattern, with yellow on the nail, is also more expected on an individual beyond its first cycle. 

Identification: Beginning with the primaries, we note a dark brown coloration -- not black -- with prominent pale edging, especially on p5-p6 (closest to the tertials). The tertials are a couple of shades paler, encircled with a pale outline. The coverts become a shade paler than the tertials and have a noticeable frosty look. And so from the wingtip to the lesser coverts, the bird gradually goes from dark to pale in an even manner.  Structurally, the bill is relatively thin with no noticeable buldge at the gonys. The head is nicely rounded, and the head and breast markings are more smudged than streaky. Also helpful here as a supporting field mark is the vividly pink legs. All of this points toward a white-winged gull -- too lanky and small-billed to be Glaucous-winged, which leaves us with Iceland Gull. 

Additional Comments: Note that Glaucous-winged x Herring Gulls can approach this plumage aspect. Those hybrids tend to have a heavy-chested appearance, as well as more body behind the legs and slightly shorter-looking wings than this. But surely there are instance when these two -- Thayer's and Glaucous-winged x Herring hybrids -- can be difficult to separate. 

01 September 2020

Monthly Notables August 2020

  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Glynn County, Georgia. 01 August 2020.
    • Continuing from June 2020.
  • Thayer's Gull (2nd cycle). Lorain County, Ohio. 02 August 2020.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). Monroe County, New York. 03 August 2020.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult type). Worcester County, Maryland. 03 August 2020.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Sangamon County, Illinois. 04 August 2020.
    • Continuing from July 2020.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Essex County, Massachusetts. 04 August 2020.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Portage la Prairie Area County, Manitoba. 07 August 2020.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Kings County, Prince Edward Island. 08 August 2020.
    • 2nd Province record, which comes less than two weeks after the 1st province record.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Wagoner County, Oklahoma. 09 August 2020.
  • Laughing Gull (adult type). Marin County, California. 15 August 2020.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Cook County, Illinois. 18 August 2020.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Capital District, British Columbia. 21 August 2020.
    • 2nd Vancouver Island record.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Stark County, Ohio. 23 August 2020.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Erie County, New York. 25 August 2020.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Central Okanagan District, British Columbia. 26 August 2020. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Clallam County, Washington. 27 August 2020.
    • 3rd County Record.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). Niagara County, Ontario. 27 August 2020.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). Erie County, New York. 27 August 2020.
    • Same individual as Niagara County, Ontario.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Lake County, Tennessee. 27 August 2020.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Anchorage County, Alaska. 26 August 2020.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 27 August 2020.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Highland County, Ohio. 29 August 2020.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Eddy County, New Mexico. 29 August 2020.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon County, Alaska. 29 August 2020.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Kossouth County, Iowa. 30 August 2020

  1. August saw countless reports of juvenile Heermann's Gulls all along the California, Oregon and Washington coast. The breeding season of 2020 proved to be a banner year with respect to breeding success, one that has not been witnessed for the last 3-4 years.