31 October 2021

October 2021 Monthly Notables


  • Red-legged Kittiwake (adult). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 01 October 2021.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). San Bernardino, California. 01 October 2021.
    • Continuing AZ bird from Sept 2021, now in California.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Bayfield County, Wisconsin. 02 October 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). San Diego County, California. 02 October 2021.
    • Very likely a returning bird since at least 2017. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Calgary County, Alberta. 06 October 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Arapahoe County, Colorado. 07 October 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Ottawa County, Ontario. 08 October 2021.
    • First Ottawa Record. Continuing through the end of the month.
  • Sabine's Gull (1st cycle). Lee County, Florida. 09 October 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (juvenile). Johnson County, Iowa. 13 October 2021.
    • Last Iowa Record January 2012.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Benton County, Washington. 14 October 2021.
    • A returning adult missing webbing on feet.
  • Ivory Gull (juvenile). North Slope County, Alaska. 15 October 2021.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Broomfield County, Colorado. 16 October 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle type). Kent County, Rhode Island. 16 October 2021.
    • 1st County Record. Apparent 5th State Record for RI.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle type). Cecil County, Maryland. 17 October 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Essex County, Massachusetts. 17 October 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Chatham County, South Carolina. 17 October 2021.
    • Continuing East Coast bird.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). King County, Washington. 19 October 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult type). Lewis & Clark County, Montana. 20 October 2021.
  • Kumlien's Gull (adult). Central Okanagan District, British Columbia. 24 October 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Lanark County, Ontario. 24 October 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Central Okanagan District, BC. 25 October 2021.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st cycle). Owyhee County, Idaho. 25 October 2021.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (juvenile). Salt Lake County, Utah. 25 October 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Clallam County, Washington. 26 October 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Queen Anne's County, Maryland. 26 October 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle). Nipissing County, Ontario. 26 October 2021.
    • 1st Record for Algonquin Provincial Park - the oldest provincial park in Canada.
  • Iceland Gull (adult). Central Okanagan District, British Columbia. 27 October 2021.
    • A white-winged adult, suggestive of nominate. 
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Hopewell County, Virginia. 27 October 2021.
    • 3rd State Record (see Notes below). 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Humphreys County, Tennessee. 28 October. 2021.
    • 1st County Record.
  • California Gull (adult). Berrien County, Michigan. 29 October 2021.
  • Ross's Gull (adult - flyby). Durham County, Ontario. 29 October 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Clermont County, Ohio. 30 October 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Polk County, Missouri. 30 October 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (1st cycle). Polk County, Missouri. 30 October. 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Pinal County, Arizona. 30 October 2021.
    • 1st County Record.


1. On 13 October 2021, Skye Christopher G. Haas reported (at least) 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Marquette County, Michigan at the Dead River mouth. This constitutes an apparent high count for the species on Lake Superior.

2. The 1st cycle Yellow-footed Gull from De Baca County, New Mexico was still present as of 15 October 2021, now with nearly all 1st alternate scapulars. The 1st cycle from Arizona is also lingering, now seen on the California side of Lake Havasu.

3. The 1st cycle Heermann's Gull from Hopewell County, Virginia is likely the same bird first found 30 miles downstream of this site in mid-August 2021 (reported on iNaturalist but mostly slid under the radar). The bird has been lingering at the Hopewell City Marina for weeks, and according to fishermen, has been there since the week of June 21st. Note that this date would be unprecedented for a 1st cycle on the East Coast. A juvenile Laughing Gull can very well be what was seen in late June. Proper documentation desired. There are now 2 Heermann's Gulls on the East Coast -- this 1st cycle, and the long-staying 3rd cycle that's currently in South Carolina.

4. Three Slaty-backed Gulls reported across the state of Washington this month is noteworthy. 

October 2021 Quiz


Illinois. March.

Age: The mottled brown upperparts immediately suggest a young 1st or 2nd cycle type large gull. The obvious pointed tips to the visible primaries, juvenile-like wing panel, and apparent post-juvenile scapulars (e.g., 1st alternate), combine to make this a 1st cycle.

Identification: The checkered wing panel with white body recall one of the black-backed gulls. Lesser Black-backed tends to have less white throughout and darker outer greater coverts. This individual has broad white edges to the lower tertials, a large, heavy black bill and a plump body. All features point to a 1st cycle Great Black-backed Gull, and that's what our October Quiz bird was identified as. 


02 October 2021

Monthly Notables September 2021


  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Calgary County, Alberta. 01 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Power County, Idaho. 01 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Rankin County, Mississippi. 01 September 2021.
  • Common Gull (2nd cycle). Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia. 02 September 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Duval County, Florida. 02 September 2021. 
    • The same waif on the Atlantic coast since August 2019.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). New Haven County, Connecticut. 03 September 2021.
    • 3rd State Record. 
  • Short-billed Gull (juvenile). North Battleford County, Saskatchewan. 04 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). New Haven County, Connecticut. 04 September 2021.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Lake County, Illinois. 04 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Franklin County, Pennsylvania. 05 September 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Ocean County, New Jersey. 06 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Osage County, Kansas. 07 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Marion County, Indiana. 08 September 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska. 08 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). York County, Maine. 09 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Jefferson County, Illinois. 09 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Natrona County, Wyoming. 10 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Prince William County, Virginia. 10 September 2021.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). De Baca County, New Mexico. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 1st State Record. 
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 2nd State Record.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Natrona County, Wyoming. 10 September 2021.
    • Apparent 3rd State Record.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Umatilla County, Washington. 12 September 2021. 
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Onondoga County, New York. 15 September 2021.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Lyon County, Kentucky. 17 September 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Rockingham County, Virginia. 17 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Barton County, Kansas. 17 September 2021. 
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Rockingham County, Virginia. 17 September 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Sitka County, Alaska. 18 September 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Colfax County, New Mexico. 18 September 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Bergen County, New Jersey. 21 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Forsyth County, Georgia. 21 September 2021.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Desha County, Arkansas. 22 September 2021.
  • California Gull (adult). Dubuque County, Iowa. 25 September 2021.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Walla Walla County, Washington. 26 September 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Comox-Strathcona, British Columbia. 28 September 2021.
  • Iceland Gull (adult). Shelby County, Illinois. 28 September 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). San Diego County, California. 28 September 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Beaufort County, South Carolina. 30 September 2021.
    • The same waif on the Atlantic coast since August 2019.


1. Most unusual this month is two reports of Yellow-footed Gull at inland lakes in the Southwest. Both 1st cycles, and both reported on the same day, hours apart. The birds lingered allowing many people to leisurely add this species to their AZ & NM state lists. These reports, if accepted, would be a 1st state record for New Mexico, and a 2nd state record for Arizona. The New Mexico sighting would be the easternmost occurrence for the species. 

2. Ample Sabine's Gulls were reported inland this month, with an above average occurrence of adults. Little Gulls were also reported in higher than usual numbers west of the Mississippi River.   

September 2021 Quiz


California. September. 

Age: This is a large four-cycle species. Based on the bill pattern and marked primary coverts (beneath the central greater coverts where a swath of secondaries are missing), we might be correct in assuming this is a subadult, or near adult. The outermost primaries, p8-p10, are yet to grow, as well as a substantial number of secondary feathers. Thus, this bird is completing its prebasic molt. 

Identification: The heavily marked breast with dense horizontal markings, medium gray upperparts, blocky head and relatively small, dark eye nicely match Glaucous-winged Gull. However, the dark, contrasting primaries (out to p7) suggests hybridization. Glaucous-winged Gulls on the Pacific coast of North America commonly hybridize with Herring and Western Gull in two central hybrid zones, in the Cook Inlet region and the Pacific Northwest, respectively. This individual more closely matches a hybrid with Western Gull, and that's what it was identified as (so-called Olympic Gull).