01 July 2021

Monthly Notables June 2021


  • Iceland Gull (2nd cycle type). Niagara County, New York. 01 June 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 - 2nd cycle types). Keith County, Nebraska. 01 June 2021.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Nome County, Alaska. 03 June 2021.
    • Nome River mouth. A one-year old in 1st alternate plumage.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (adult type). Harney County, Oregon. 03 June 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 03 June 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 04 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Cape May County, New Jersey. 04 June 2021.
    • 1st State Record continuing until at least this date.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Nome County, Alaska. 06 June 2021.
    • Gambell Seawatch. A different one-year old than the Nome bird.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Inyo County, California. 07 June 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Imperial County, California. 08 June 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Anchorage County, Alaska. 09 June 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Cape May County, New Jersey. 09 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult type). Bruce County, Ontario. 09 June 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Comox-Stathcona District, British Columbia. 10 June 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Nassau County, New York. 15 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). San Juan County, Utah. 16 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Chatham County, Georgia. 18 June 2021.
    • Back after a three month hiatus.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Sangamon County, Illinois. 19 June 2021.
  • California Gull (4th cycle type). Erie County, Pennsylvania. 20 June 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle/1st alternate). Becker County, Minnesota. 20 June 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Beaufort County, South Carolina: 21 June 2021.
    • 1st STATE RECORD. The same waif that has made the Atlantic coast its home since August 2019.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 - 2nd/3rd cycle types). Portage la Prairie Area County, Manitoba. 23 June 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). North Slope County, Alaska. 24 June 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 26 June 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Nueces County, Texas. 29 June 2021.


1. The 62nd Supplement to the AOS Checklist now treats what was formerly Mew Gull in North America as a separate species from the Old World taxa. Short-billed Gull is the new name for Larus brachyrhynchus. With this split, the ABA Checklist will have a total of 31 gull species. 

2. "The" Heermann's Gull of Florida-fame, subsequently found in Georgia, then Virginia, then Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey, made its way back south to Georgia and then South Carolina this month. By my count, this bird has provided a total of 5 new "state firsts" in 2021, and counting. 

3. Coverage by several parties in the Aleutians yielded several Red-legged Kittiwake sightings this month. Up to 20 individuals were found between Aleutians East and Aleutians West County, Alaska throughout June, all presumably adult types. These are among the highest counts for the species this far south and east in some years. 

June 2021 Quiz


Florida. January.

Age: Whichever species this is, we can be sure it's a subadult based on the black centers to the secondaries and dark smudging on the underside of the primary coverts.

Identification: This is a hooded gull with thick white eye crescents and a relatively stout bill. The broad white trailing edge and dark wingtip readily eliminate smaller species such as Bonaparte's and Black-headed (so-called "masked gulls" which have mostly gray along the trailing edge of the secondaries).
The only expected hooded gulls in North America are Franklin's and Laughing. One may assume this is a Laughing Gull based on the time of year and location, but taking a closer look, we can make the case for Franklin's for the following reasons: The eye crescents are rather wide and the hood is sharply demarcated with a clean, white neck. And more importantly, the active molt in the primaries is expected in Franklin's at this time of year (note the 3 new innermost primaries). Franklin's undergoes two complete molts per annual cycle. During the northern winter, this species is typically found in South America where it undergoes a complete prealternate molt, replacing body and flight feathers at once. This individual appears to be doing just that, presumably via its 1st prealternate molt.

A few Franklin's Gulls can be found lingering in North America in the boreal winter, primarily in the far south. Those that winter north of the equator appear to average less extensive prealternate molts than their southern counterparts. Here is this individual with several Laughing Gulls. 

Franklin's Gull (center) typically shows a semi-hood if not sporting a complete hood. It averages a smaller body and bill than Laughing Gull. Note how the eye crescents "pop" on the darker head.