01 September 2021

August 2021 Quiz


December. Illinois.

Age: Our quiz bird in the center of the frame appears to be an adult black-backed species, but the extensive black on the bill is excessive for an adult. An open wing may reveal subadult features on the plumage. The smaller white apicals are also atypical of adults. Such birds are best referred to as "adult type", which implies some ambiguity in age. 

Identification: Adult black-backed species can be sorted into two groups: those with yellow legs and those with pink legs. This individual appears to have intermediate leg color -- not the obvious pink seen on the two Herrings in the foreground, but also not the mustard-yellow seen on the Ring-billeds in the background. The legs do, however, have a dull yellow cast to them, which is not uncommon in adult type Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The bill pattern too is found on a good number of adult type Lessers. The size and structure seem to fit that species, and the clear iris and finer head streaking also support Lesser. It's upright posture and lowered wings give the body a rotund shape, almost recalling Slaty-backed Gull, and from a distance, such a wide tertial crescent may excite observers. But the attenuated look to the wings, leg color and extensive black on the bill all combine to make our August Quiz a relatively straightforward Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Monthly Notables August 2021


  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 05 August 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Valdez-Cordova County, Alaska. 06 August 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Churchill & Manitoba County, Manitoba. 04 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Monterey County, California. 07 August 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). New Haven County, Connecticut. 07 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Sitka, Alaska. 11 August 2021.
    • Presumed graellsii. p1-p5 renewed, p6 half grown, p7 missing, p8-p10 old; mirror on p9 & p10.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Calgary County, Alberta. 11 August 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Duval County, Florida. 13 August 2021.
    • The same waif that has been on the Atlantic coast since August 2019. Now in 3rd basic plumage.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Meeker County, Minnesota. 14 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Harrison County, Georgia. 14 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Washington County, Rhode Island. 14 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Cook County, Illinois. 17 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Banff County, Alberta. 17 August 2021.
  • Thayer's Gull (2nd cycle). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 18 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Cochrane County, Ontario. 19 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2 juveniles). Tompkins & Broome County, New York. 19 August 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Fairfax County, Virginia. 17 August 2021.
    • 3rd county record.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. 22 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Fremont County, Wyoming. 22 August 2021.
  • Common Gull (2nd cycle). Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. 23 August 2021.
    • Nominate canus.
  • Sabine's Gull (2nd cycle type). Fairfax County, Virginia. 25 August 2021.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Power County, Idaho. 26 August 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Power County, Idaho. 26 August 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). La Haute-Cote-Nord County, Quebec. 26 August 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Anchorage County, Alaska. 26 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Dare County, North Carolina. 28 August 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Ketchikan Gateway County, Alaska. 29 August 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult type). Escambia County, Florida. 30 August 2021.