01 November 2022

October 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings: 
  • California Gull (adult). Calvert County, Maryland. 01 October 2022.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Clinton County, Illinois. 01 October 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 02 October 2022.
    • Continuing.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (2nd cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 05 October 2022.
    • 3rd State Record. Likely the same individual from Lake Mead (NV) last month.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Lincoln County, Oregon. 06 October 2022.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult). Keith County, Nebraska. 06 October 2022.
  • Ivory Gull (juvenile). North Slope County, Alaska. 10 October 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gulls (3 juveniles). San Miguel County, New Mexico. 11 October 2022.
    • Apparent state high count for this date.
  • Black-headed Gull (ad. & 1st cycle). Queens County, New York. 12 October 2022.
    • Continuing adult joined by a newly arrived 1st cycle.
  • Franklin's Gulls (203 - various ages). Hancock County, Mississippi. 13 October 2022.
    • Apparent high count for coastal MS.
  • Little Gull (adult). Metro Vancouver District, British Columbia. 14 October 2022.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st cycle). Elko County, Nevada. 14 October 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 16 October 2022.
    • Continuing "Atlantic" Coast bird, now in 4th basic plumage.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle type). Chatham County, North Carolina. 17 October 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Benton County, Washington. 18 October 2022.
    • Returning bird since at least 2016.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). New Haven County, Connecticut. 19 October 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Saskatoon County, Saskatchewan. 20 October 2022.
  • Sabine's Gull (juvenile). Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. 25 October 2022.
  • Swallow-tailed Gull (adult). San Diego County, California. 25 October 2022.
    • 4th State Record.
  • Kumlien's Gull (adult). Central Okanagen District. British Columbia. 26 October 2022.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Capital District, British Columbia. 27 October 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washington. 28 October 2022.
    • Presumably a returning individual for the 2nd year.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). Bruce County, Ontario. 30 October 2022.
    • Photos strongly suggest this species, although remains unconfirmed.
Notes:
1. Approximately 10,000 Black-legged Kittiwakes were recorded migrating west from Point Barrow on 11 October 2022. These numbers are not typical here, to say the least. See Alex Lamoreaux's report for details. 16 juvenile Thayer's Gulls were also reported. In most years 1-2 may be reported here at the height of Fall migration.

2. A nice showing of 630 Ross's Gulls was recorded at Point Barrow on 16 October 2022. 

October 2022 Quiz

 

January. Florida.

Age: The mottled brown upperparts, all-black bill, and apparent pointed primary tips all suggest a 1st cycle belonging to a four-year species. 

Identification: Note first the underparts have an obvious pale base color. This combined with the creamy head, long, straight black bill, and long-winged appearance, make for a different look than the expected Herring Gull. American Herring typically has warmer brown underparts, more head streaking and doesn't appear as svelte in the rear. Great Black-backed has a bulkier body, thicker bill, more checkered wing coverts with a peppered black-and-white plumage aspect. Consider the dark bases to the outer greater coverts, complemented by adjacent long plain edges. These plain feathers are characteristic of Lesser Black-backed Gull. The darker post-juvenile scapulars (1st alternate) with grayish anchors also support Lesser black-backed Gull, which is what our October Quiz bird is.

01 October 2022

September 2022 Quiz

 

March. Vancouver Island.

Age: A standard adult, four-cycle, gull.

Identification: Our September Quiz bird has light gray upperparts with rather extensive black on the wingtip. Note, however, the black on the wingtip is less-than true black, with a suspicious gray quality. The underside to the far wing reinforces this coloration. The smudged head marks, apparent dark eye, and fairly straight bill with orange-red gonys spot all support Thayer's Gull, which often shows a California-gull-like gape line. The pigment on the wingtip approaches the darkest extreme in this taxon, with no p9 mirror and the visible inner web being grayish black. This individual shows very fresh tips to all of its flight feathers for mid-March. Finally, it's worth noting that the white tips to the inner primaries can be relatively broad on some Iceland Gulls, even broader than what's seen here. 

September 2022 Monthly Notables

 Sightings:

  • Thayer's Gull (3rd cycle). Gambell, Alaska. 03 September 2022.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Bergen & Hudson County, New Jersey. 04 September 2022.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult type). Mobile County, Alabama. 04 September 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 04 September 2022.
    • Apparently returning 1st State Record individual from March-May 2022, then a 1st cycle.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Cameron County, Texas. 05 September 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Bronx & Queens County, New York. 07 September 2022.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Sedgwick County, Colorado. 07 September 2022. 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2nd cycle). Albany County, New York. 08 September 2022.
    • Became progressively ill over the week and found dead on 14 September 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Washoe County, Nevada. 07 September 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Capital District, British Columbia. 10 September 2022.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (2nd cycle). Clark County, Nevada. 14 September 2022.
    • Apparently long-staying individual first found here September 2022 as 1st cycle.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Jefferson County, Washington. 16 September 2022.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Morgan County, Colorado. 16 September 2022.
  • Red-legged Kittiwake (adult). Nome County, Alaska. 17 September 2022.
    • First eBird Record for Nome.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult type). Barnstable County, Massachusetts. 19 September 2022.
  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Adak Island. Alaska. 22 September 2022.
  • Little Gull (adult). Buffalo County, South Dakota. 23 September 2022.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (4th cycle type). Douglas County, Wisconsin. 24 September 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). St Paul Island. Alaska. 24 September 2022.
    • First Bering Sea Record. p1-p3 new, p4 dropped, p5-p10 old. Subspecies unknown. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washington. 25 September 2022.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Berrien County, Michigan. 27 September 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Renfrew County, Ontario. 28 September 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Wakulla County, Florida. 28 September 2022. 
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Duval County, Florida. 28 September 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast bird now in 4th basic plumage.
  • Black-headed Gull (2nd cycle). Queens County, New York. 30 September 2022.
    • Continuing from June 2022. 2nd basic plumage indistinguishable from adult.

Notes:
1. Lesser Black-backed Gull continues to expand its footprint in western North America. At least 2 individuals were reported in Washington, 4 individuals from California, a single bird on Vancouver Island, and most surprisingly, an adult on St Paul Island, constitutes a 1st for the Bering Sea.

31 August 2022

August 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Monterey County, California. 01 August 2022.
    • Continuing from July 2022. p1-p4 new. 
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Fort McMurray County, Alberta. 02 August 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). San Francisco County, California. 06 August 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Sitka, Alaska. 12 August 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Montmagny County, Quebec. 13 August 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Duval County, Florida. 14 August 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast bird. Slowed 4th prebasic molt, still with many 3rd generation secondaries and outermost primaries. 
  • Ivory Gull (adult). Baffin County, Nunavut. 21 August 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Toronto County, Ontario. 25 August 2022.
    • Moribund individual.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska. 25 August 2022.
  • Little Gull (juvenile). Jefferson County, Wisconsin. 27 August 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 27 August 2022.
    • Continuing from July 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle type). Juneau County, Alaska. 28 August 2022.
  • Black-headed Gull (2nd cycle). Queens County, New York. 29 August 2022.
    • Continuing from June 2022. Concluding 2nd prebasic molt.
  • Laughing Gull (3 juveniles). Lorain County, Ohio. 29 August 2022.
    • Notable count anywhere on the Great Lakes.


August 2022 Quiz

 

January. Washington. 

Age: Overall, both individuals appear to be adult type four-cycle gulls. The smaller apicals in mid-winter are not due to wear, and suggest younger adults. Zooming in, both individuals show dark markings on the primary coverts (just below the outer secondaries) which confirms the suspicion of not-quite-adult birds.

Identification: Pink-legged large white-headed gulls, with strong bills that appear somewhat bulbous, immediately evokes thoughts of Western Gull. The gray upperparts may be within range for northern occidentalis, but the smudgy head pattern is much more expected in hybrid Glaucous-winged x Westerns. Also, looking closely at the primaries -- especially on the individual on the right -- we find they're not quite pure black which is typical of this hybrid. Thus, both birds have enough oddities to comfortably be labeled hybrid Glaucous-winged x Westerns (so-called Olympic Gulls).  


31 July 2022

July 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Little Gull (8 adult and 2nd cycle types). Norfolk County, Ontario. 01 July 2022.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Washington County, Maine. 01 July 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 03 July 2022.
  • Little Gull (3 2nd cycles). Iosco County, Michigan. 06 July 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (2nd cycle). Monroe County, Michigan. 07 July 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Beaverhead County, Montana. 07 July 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (adult). Santa Cruz County, California. 07 July 2022.
  • Herring Gull (2nd cycle). Keith County, Nebraska. 09 July 2022.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult type). Dare County, North Carolina. 10 July 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Islet County, Quebec. 10 July 2022. 
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. 11 July 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay County, Labrador. 13 July 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). San Mateo County, California. 15 July 2022.
  • Little Gull (adult). Montreal County, Quebec. 16 July 2022. 
  • Short-billed Gull (adult type). Union County, Oregon. 16 July 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Hampden County, Massachusetts. 25 July 2022.
    • Apparent 2nd county record.
  • Little Gull (6 adult and 2nd cycle types). La Haute-Cote-Nord County, Quebec. 28 July 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Duval County, Florida. 29 July 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast bird still undergoing 4th prebasic molt. Head pattern transitioned from white in first ten days of July to speckled gray by the end of the month (p1-p4 fully grown, p5-p6 growing, p7 dropped, p8-p10 3rd generation).
  • Slaty-backed Gull (1st cycle). St Paul Island, Alaska. 29 July 2022.
  • Black-headed Gull (2nd cycle). Queens County, New York. 30 July 2022.
    • Continuing from early June 2022.
  • Little Gull (2nd cycle). Monterey County, California. 30 July 2022.
    • Apparently same individual from Santa Cruz, May-June 2022.
  • Little Gull (4 adults; 1 juvenile). Churchill, Manitoba. 30 July 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (juvenile). LaPorte County, Indiana. 31 July 2022.

Notes:

1. On 01 July 2022, Woody Goss found what appeared to be an adult California Gull on an inland rooftop in Chicago, where a small group of Herring & Ring-billed Gulls were actively nesting. Based on the views and photos available, the bird seemed to be a rather typical California Gull (upperparts a shade darker than present Herrings, dark iris, yellow legs and considerable black on the base of p8-p10). On 26 July 2022, Goss spotted an apparent adult hybrid California x Herring 2 miles away on Lake Michigan feeding a pair fledged juveniles at Fullerton Beach. This same adult was subsequently found together with the rooftop bird a couple of days later at Fullerton. This time, better views and photos were secured, and suggest both birds are likely hybrids/backcrosses. Both individuals approach California Gull more so than Herring, although the irides are not entirely dark and the orbital and gape color is a fiery orange, not crimson red. 

July 2022 Quiz

 

August. Maryland. 

Age: As a rule, gulls that have drab brown heads, necks and upperparts are usually in their 1st molt cycle. This individual is dressed in juvenile plumage, also known as the 1st basic plumage. The primary tips are pointed, with outermost primaries not yet fully grown (hence the short wing projection past the tail). Several inner median coverts have been dropped in what should be considered the beginning stages of the first partial molt.

Identification: The combination of brown head and neck, scaly upperparts, white undertail coverts and vent region help move us away from any of the large four-cycle gulls. This is a so-called "hooded" species. The longish bill, full throughout its length, with moderate depth to the tip points away from smaller tern-like species (i.e., Bonaparte's, Little and Sabine's Gull). The only valid contenders are Laughing and Franklin's Gull. Even in fresh juvenile plumage, Franklin's averages less brown on the nape and foreneck with bolder eye crescents. Overall, Franklin's has a quasi-hood (much more a "mask") on the face. The bill averages thinner and shorter on Franklin's, and the body and head appear more compact. Our August quiz, as perhaps already given away by location, is a juvenile Laughing Gull. 

Laughing Gull has what are believed to be 2 partial molts in its 1st molt cycle (a preformative molt and a prealternate molt). Body feathers replaced around this time of year are a result of the preformative molt. In winter and early spring, many Laughing Gulls replace some of these body feathers and upperparts a 2nd time via a 1st prealternate molt. 

01 July 2022

June 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Beaverhead County, Montana. 01 June 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Kent County, New Brunswick. 02 June 2022.
  • Ring-billed Gull (adult). Yukon County, Yukon. 02 June 2022.
  • Ross's Gull (adult). North Slope County, Alaska. 02 June 2022*.
  • Kamchatka Gull (1st cycle). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 02 June 2022.
    • Continuing from late May 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 adult types). Baffin County, Nunavut. 04 June 2022*.
  • Ivory Gull (adult). Minganie County, Quebec. 05 June 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Lake County, Ohio. 05 June 2022.
    • Small, dark individual, suggesting nominate californicus.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Del Norte County, California. 07 June 2022. 
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Queens County, New York. 07 June 2022.
  • Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Gambell, Alaska. 08 June 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult & 4th cycle). Inuvik County, Northwest Territories. 10 June 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th cycle). Beaufort County, South Carolina. 11 June 2022. 
    • Atlantic Coast bird now undergoing its 4th prebasic molt (p1-p2 growing, p3 dropped).
  • Black-headed Gull (2nd cycle). Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. 12 June 2022.
  • Thayer's Gull (2nd cycle). Lincoln County, Oregon. 12 June 2022.
    • Latest Spring record, and only 2nd for June. Start of 2nd prebasic molt.
  • Laughing Gull (adult). Churchill & Northern Manitoba County, Manitoba. 19 June 2022.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Churchill & Northern Manitoba County, Manitoba. 19 June 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Beaverhead County, Montana. 19 June 2022.
    • 1st Summer record.
  • California Gull (4th cycle). Sangamon County, Illinois. 19 June 2022.
    • Likely a returning bird, undergoing 4th prebasic molt.
  • Red-legged Kittiwake (2 adults). Aleutians West County, Alaska. 21 June 2022.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Santa Cruz County, California. 22 June 2022.
    • Continuing from previous month. Still will all juvenile flight feathers.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 - 2nd cycles). Jefferson County, Louisiana. 24 June 2022. 
  • Little Gull (9 adults). Churchill & Northern Manitoba County, Manitoba. 24 June 2022*.
  • Ross's Gull (1st cycle). North Slope County, Alaska. 25 June 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult & 2nd cycle). Utqiagvik, Alaska. 27 June 2022.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Utqiagvik, Alaska. 27 June 2022.
  • Little Gull (3rd cycle). Arnold's Cove, Newfoundland. 29 June 2022.

Notes:

1) The adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls reported in Iqaluit, Nunavut is part of a growing trend from the last three breeding seasons (2020-2022). Whether these are migrants stopping over, nonbreeding loafers, or birds "possibly" attempting to breed locally remains to be seen. A maximum of 6 were reported on 02 June 2022.

2) At least 9 adult Little Gulls were reported in Churchill, Manitoba throughout the month, suggesting they may be back breeding at this historic stronghold. 

3) Late winter conditions in Utqiagvik this year helped reel in at least 2 Ross's Gulls (ad. & 1st C). The species has become rare here in spring/summer in recent years due to increased ice melt. 

30 June 2022

June 2022 Quiz

 

May. Wisconsin.


This is a three-cycle hooded gull. The thick white eye crescents, and broad white trailing edge quite readily limit our choices to Franklin's Gull or Laughing Gull. 

The identification of this individual is critically dependent on correct aging criteria. Note the thin black shaft streaks on the primary coverts and on p6-p8. Also, there is white freckling on the chin, cheeks and around the base of the bill (difficult to see here, but quite noticeable in the field. click on image to enlarge). The bill color is dark and drab for May. All of these features point to a subadult type, despite the adult-like gray upperparts and unmarked tail. In fact, the central tail feathers show a distinctive gray wash, and this is a big pro-Franklin's feature. 

Also, consider the first mid-primary (p6) with complete black subterminal band, and note the white tongue tip that acts as a partition between the gray portion of the feathers and black band. In Laughing Gull, the pattern is solid gray adjacent to solid black, with no white tongue tip. Finally, notice the large gray base to the outer web of p8. Laughing Gull generally has black come up to the primary coverts here. A fleeting look at a bird in flight with such limited black here should immediately elicit thoughts of Franklin's.

Our May Quiz bird is a 1st alternate type Franklin's Gull.

01 June 2022

May 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 05 May 2022.
    • Continuing from April 2022.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Clark County, Nevada. 05 May 2022.
    • Continuing from April 2022.
  • Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Bernalillo County, New Mexico. 05 May 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Missoula County, Montana. 05 May 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Bent County, Colorado. 06 May 2022.
  • Ivory Gull (21 adults). Nome County, Alaska. 08 May 2022.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Carteret County, North Carolina. 08 May 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Sitka County, Alaska. 10 May 2022.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Cochise County, Arizona. 11 May 2022.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Fort McMurray County, Alberta. 11 May 2022.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult type). Dare County, North Carolina. 13 May 2022.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Marin County, California. 14 May 2022.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Deschutes County, Oregon. 17 May 2022. 
  • Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Fremont County, Wyoming. 17 May 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Pinellas County, Florida. 18 May 2022.
    • First detected in April, captured, rehabbed and released.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 19 May 2022.
    • Likely the Monterey County bird from late April 2022.
  • Ross's Gull (adult). Del Norte County, California. 20 May 2022.
    • 4th State Record, pending acceptance. 
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Dare County, North Carolina. 20 May 2022.
  • California Gull (3rd cycle). Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. 21 May 2022.
  • Little Gull (1st cycle). Santa Cruz County, California. 22 May 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Androscoggin County, Maine. 23 May 2022.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Chatham County, Georgia. 24 May 2022.
  • Thayer's Gull (adult). Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. 27 May 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Racine County, Wisconsin. 28 May 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Fort McMurray County, Alberta. 29 May 2022.
    • 1st County Record.

31 May 2022

May 2022 Quiz

 

Massachusetts. April.

Age: This appears to be a large four-year gull, with pointed primary tips, and with what appear to be 1st generation wing coverts and tertials. It is a rather straight-forward 1st cycle type.

Identification: The overall pallid upperparts here may be due entirely to fading, on what may have been a pale bird to begin with. However, the dark tail, dark primaries and tertials do not appear to have suffered much bleaching or wear. There aren't many four-year gulls in the East that we can confuse this taxon with. Lesser Black-backed is ruled out by virtue of the pale regions throughout the wing panel and the light-gray second generation scaps. The proportions are entirely wrong for Great Black-backed, which also almost never shows an all dark uppertail like this. The most obvious answer is most times the correct answer, and indeed, our May quiz bird is a 1st cycle Herring Gull. 

I was surprised by the number of people who replied with "Thayer's Iceland Gull" this month. Although the bill is somewhat slim and the head appears small and refined, this can all be found in a smaller, female type Herring. The paler upperparts are also well within range for a slightly bleached Herring. In fact, there are many 1st cycle Herrings that are much more bleached than this in April (including the flight feathers). Also, Thayer's is generally not expected here and eliminating Herring would be step one. 

01 May 2022

April 2022 Quiz


British Columbia. March

Age: This is a larger four-cycle gull. The marked tail, faintly marked primary coverts and bill pattern suggest a 3rd cycle type.

Identification: The paler pigment on the outer primaries immediately evokes thoughts of a white-winged species (e.g., Iceland and Glaucous-winged). Glaucous Gull never shows mirrors as seen on the tenth primary, never has this much contrasting pigment on the primary pattern or tail, and the bill pattern often yellow by now. This is a broad-winged bird with apparent smudged head and neck markings. The eye appears relatively small and dark, but the bill is decidedly thick, which is very typical of Glaucous-winged. A fair number of Glaucous-winged Gulls can show this delayed bill pattern into 3rd cycle and this is what our March bird was identified as. Thayer's is ruled out by the lighter gray wingtips (although perhaps not unheard of in some variants), and particularly the larger bill and small-ish eye.

3rd cycle type Glaucous-wingeds can show this contrasting pigment on the outer primaries and this is not necessarily indicative of outside influence (i.e., hybridization with Herring or Western Gull).

April 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 01 April 2022.
    • 1st State Record discovered on 31 March 2022, continuing through April.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). King County, Washington. 02 April 2022. 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Sarasota County, Florida. 03 April 2022.
    • 2nd County Record.
  • California Gull (adult). Wayne County, Michigan. 04 April 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Rockingham County, New Hampshire. 08 April 2022.
    • 4th State Record. 
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Cameron Parish, Louisiana. 09 April 2022. 
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st cycle). Calgary County, Alberta. 12 April 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Canyon County, Idaho. 12 April 2022.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult). Stanley County, South Dakota. 13 April 2022. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Saskatoon County, Saskatchewan. 15 April 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Lewis & Clark County, Montana. 15 April 2022. 
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (1st cycle). Hughes County, South Dakota. 19 April 2022.
    • 4th State Record.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Del Norte County, California 20 April 2022.
  • Kelp Gull (adult). Cameron County, Texas. 20 April 2022.
    • Apparent 6th(?) state record.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Camrose-Lloydminister County, Alberta. 21 April 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Le Rocher-Perce County, Quebec. 23 April 2022.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 24 April 2022. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Monterey County, California. 24 April 2022. 
  • California Gull (adult). Erie County, Pennsylvania. 25 April 2022. 



02 April 2022

March 2022 Quiz

July. Massachusetts. 

Age: Both birds appear to have old, faded juvenile primaries. Note the absence of p6/p7, thus they're actively molting primaries, as well as tertials and wing coverts. This "complete molt" is the 2nd prebasic molt and so we can safely say these birds are in their 2nd (molt) cycle. 

Identification: A nice size comparison of two species frequently seen together on the Atlantic. The individual on the left has a mostly black bill, contrasting white head and solid, dark upperparts. It also appears slimmer and decidedly smaller. It is a rather standard 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed. The blocky-headed gull on the right, with nondescript upperparts and relatively large paling bill is "just" a Herring Gull. The retained primaries and tertials have bleached significantly, but this is rather typical for a July bird. 

March 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 02 March 2022.
  • Glaucous Gull (1st cycle). Sierra County, New Mexico. 02 March 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washington. 03 March 2022.
  • California Gull (2 adults). Dare County, North Carolina. 04 March 2022.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Flathead County, Montana. 08 March 2022.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Keith County, Nebraska. 10 March 2022.
  • Common Gull (adult). Washington County, Rhode Island. 11 March 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Baldwin County, Alabama. 12 March 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Contra County, California. 15 March 2022.
  • Little Gull (adult). Franklin County, Ohio. 15 March 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Hopewell County, Virginia. 16 March 2022.
    • Continuing 1st cycle from August 2021.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 17 March 2022.
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 18 March 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 18 March 2022.
    • 3rd State Record.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 20 March 2022.
    • 2nd State Record. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Monroe County, Michigan. 20 March 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Larimer County, Colorado. 20 March 2022.
    • 3rd? State Record.
  • Sabine's Gull (adult). Clatsop County, Oregon. 23 March 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Erie County, Pennsylvania. 25 March 2022.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Lancaster County, Nebraska. 26 March 2022.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Clark County, Nevada. 26 March 2022.
    • 2nd State Record. Presumably same individual from Lake Havasu (CA/AZ).
  • Little Gull (adult). Columbia County, Wisconsin. 27 March 2022.
  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Stanley County, South Dakota. 27 March 2022.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Clermont County, Ohio. 30 March 2022.
    • 1st state record away from Lake Erie.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 31 March 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD. Presumably the Hopewell County, VA bird.

01 March 2022

February 2022 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Slaty-backed Gull (3rd cycle). New York County, New York. 01 February 2022.
    • 1st County Record. Apparently here in late January, first identified as LBBG.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Clark County, Nevada. 01 February 2022. 
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). San Mateo County, CA. 01 February 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Jackson County, Mississippi. 02 February 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Mobile County, Alabama. 03 February 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Los Angeles County, California. 05 February 2022.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 06 February 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Dare County, North Carolina. 06 February 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washington. 06 February 2022. 
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 08 February 2022.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 08 February 2022.
    • Continuing. 
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 08 February 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast Bird.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Marion County, Florida. 10 February 2022.
  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 10 February 2022.
    • 6th State Record of kamtschatschensis.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. 12 February 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). New Hanover County, North Carolina. 12 February 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD. Atlantic Coast Bird.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (1st cycle). San Mateo County, California. 14 February 2022.
    • Presumably same bird from December 2021.
  • Vega Gull (1st cycle). Los Angeles County, California. 15 February 2022.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Dare County, North Carolina. 15 February 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast Bird.
  • Common Gull (adult). Washington County, Maine. 17 February 2022.
    • Likely kamtschatschensis, which would constitute a 1st state record for this race.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 20 February 2022.
    • Same individual from Montgomery County, PA.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Benton County, Oregon. 21 February 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (1st cycle). San Mateo County, California. 22 February 2022.
  • Common Gull (adult). Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 27 February 2022.
  • Common Gull (adult). Essex County, Massachusetts. 27 February 2022.
    • Banded as chick in Iceland in 2013. First detected in MA in 2017.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Glynn County, Georgia. 28 February 2022.
    • Atlantic Coast Bird.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Hopewell County, Virginia. 28 February 2022.
    • Continuing 1st cycle. 

February 2022 Quiz

 

London. December.

Age: Identification and aging, once again, go hand-in-hand. This white-headed gull is either a 2nd cycle type (if a three-year gull), or a 3rd cycle type (if a four-year gull).

Identification: The time of year and location set the stage. Immediately we note the small head, thin bill with tapered tip and long narrow wings. The upperparts are not a pale silver-gray, but more of a flat gray (in part due to age and lighting). The lower neck has distinct spotting, and the eye appears disproportionally large. These features all point to the expected Common Gull. The broad white trailing edge to the secondaries abruptly becomes thin at the inner primaries. The two large mirrors on p9-p10 are helpful, and also, the all-white tail and white secondaries tips are expected in 2nd cycle type canus

01 February 2022

January 2022 Monthly Notables

 Sightings:

  • Little Gull (adult). Eddy County, New Mexico. 01 January 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Dare County, North Carolina. 01 January 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Lawrence County, Alabama. 01 January 2022.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Orange County, New York. 02 January 2022.
  • Kumlien's Gull (adult). Central Okanagan District, British Columbia. 03 January 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Horry County, South Carolina. 03 January 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD.
  • Ivory Gull (1st cycle). St. Louis County, Minnesota. 03 January 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Niagara County, New York. 05 January 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Oneida County, New York. 05 January 2022.
    • Continuing from Madison Co.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Glynn County, Georgia. 05 January 2022.
    • Continuing Atlantic Coast bird now in 3rd alternate plumage. 
  • Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Tulsa County, Oklahoma. 07 January 2022.
  • Kumlien's Gull (2nd cycle). San Mateo County, California. 07 January 2022.
  • Ivory Gull (1st cycle). Douglas County, Wisconsin. 08 January 2022.
    • Same individual from St Louis County, MN. 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (2 juveniles). Guadalupe County, New Mexico. 06 January 2022.
  • Vega Gull (1st cycle). San Mateo County, California. 10 January 2022. 
  • Thayer's Gull (adult). Nantucket County, Massachusetts. 12 January 2022. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Walla Walla County, Washington. 13 January 2022.
    • Reoccurring individual since 2016, moving between Walla Walla and Benton Co.
  • Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Brevard County, Florida. 13 January 2022.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (2nd cycle). Brant County, Ontario. 14 January 2022.
    • Continuing from Dec 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (adult). Will County, Illinois. 14 January 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Manatee County, Florida. 14 January 2022.
    • Reoccurring individual since 2020.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 14 January 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). St Louis County, Minnesota. 15 January 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Tillamook County, Oregon. 16 January 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Marin County, California. 17 January 2022.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Clark County, Nevada. 17 January 2022.
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 18 January 2022.
    • Continuing from Dec 2021.
  • Thayer's Gull (2nd cycle). Monroe County, Indiana. 21 January 2022.
  • Glaucous Gull (1st cycle). Cameron County, Texas. 21 January 2022. 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Cameron County, Texas. 22 January 2022.
  • California Gull (adult). Jefferson County, Wisconsin. 22 January 2022.
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 22 January 2022.
    • Continuing.
  • Common Gull (2nd cycle). Monmouth County, New Jersey. 23 January 2022.
    • 1ST STATE RECORD of L.c.canus.
  • Heermann's Gull (3rd cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 24 January 2022.
    • Continuing Atlantic Coast bird now in 3rd alternate plumage.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Monroe County, Indiana. 25 January 2022.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Reno County, Kansas. 26 January 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washinton. 26 January 2022.
  • Kumlien's Gull (1st cycle). King County, Washington. 27 January 2022.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd cycle). Monterey County, California. 27 January 2022.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). St. Catharines, Ontario. 27 January 2022.
    • Reoccurring individual since 2017.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Miami County, Kansas. 31 January 2022.
    • Presumably here since late December, between Douglas and Miami Co.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Hopewell County, Virginia. 31 January 2022.
    • Continuing from Aug 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 31 January 2022.

31 January 2022

January 2022 Quiz

 

January. California. 

Age: This is an apparent large four-year gull. The primary tips are decidedly pointed, suggesting 1st cycle. 

Identification: The plumage aspect immediately invites thoughts of a white-winged gull. The upperparts are uniformly pale throughout, with little contrast throughout the tertials and primaries. The large powerful bill and beady eye call to mind Glaucous-winged Gull. Glaucous Gull is ruled out by bill pattern, but also, due to the plainer upperparts which tend to be more patterned in Glaucous. Iceland Gull has a proportionally larger eye that's more centered on the face, along with a slimmer bill. 

Our January 2022 quiz bird is indeed a Glaucous-winged Gull.

1st cycle Glaucous-winged Gulls are sometimes found with this contrastingly pale white head and neck, against a plain grayish-brown body. It has been suggested that such a head pattern may be due to bleaching or the onset of the 1st prealternate molt. But such birds with white heads can be found in young juveniles in August, and so it appears this "look" is simply normal variation. 

01 January 2022

December 2021 Monthly Notables

Sightings:

  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Maricopa County, Arizona. 01 December 2021.
    • Continuing from late November. 
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). La Paz County, Arizona. 01 December 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Linn County, Kansas. 03 December 2021.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Cedar County, Nebraska. 04 December 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Fremont County, Wyoming. 04 December 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (2nd cycle). Sanilac County, Michigan. 05 December 2021. 
  • Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Essex County, Massachusetts. 07 December 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Dane County, Wisconsin. 08 December 2021.
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 08 December 2021.
    • Perhaps a returning individual since at least Jan 2019.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Thurston County, Washington. 10 December 2021.
  • Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Harrison County, Mississippi. 11 December 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (1st cycle). San Mateo County, California. 11 December 2021.
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Stanislaus County, California. 11 December 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Dallas County, Texas. 12 December 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (1st cycle). Tulare County, California. 12 December 2021. 
  • Ross's Gull (adult type). Alameda County, California. 14 December 2021.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 16 December 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Lawrence County, Alabama. 17 December 2021.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult). Clallam County, Washington. 17 December 2021.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Orange County, New York. 17 December 2021.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Douglas County, Kansas. 18 December 2021.
  • California Gull (adult). Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 18 December 2021.
  • Iceland Gull (1st cycle). Midland County, Michigan. 19 December 2021.
    • Apparent nominate individual. 
  • Black-headed Gull (adult). Henrico County, Virginia. 19 December 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Kings County, New York. 21 December 2021. 
  • Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Pueblo County, Colorado. 21 December 2021. 
  • Sabine's Gull (1st cycle). Erie County, New York. 22 December 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 23 December 2021. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Jefferson County, Wisconsin. 24 December 2021. 
  • Ivory Gull (1st cycle). Sept-Rivieres County, Quebec. 25 December 2021.
  • Little Gull (adult). Delaware County, Ohio. 25 December 2021. 
  • Yellow-footed Gull (1st cycle). Mohave County, Arizona. 26 December 2021.
    • Continuing since September 2021.
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 27 December 2021.
  • Glaucous Gull (2nd cycle). Blaine County, Oaklahoma. 27 December 2021.
  • Laughing Gull (1st cycle). Erie County, New York. 30 December 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (1st cycle). Hopewell County, Virginia. 30 December 2021.
    • Continuing since mid-August 2021.
  • Heermann's Gull (adult type). Georgetown County, South Carolina. 30 December 2021.
    • Likely the 3rd cycle East Coast bird last seen in VA in late November.
  • Franklin's Gull (1st cycle). Orange County, New York. 31 December 2021.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Madison County, New York. 31 December 2021.

Notes:

1. On 02 December 2021, Noah Arthur reported what appears to be the returning Taimyr Gull in Sonoma County, California. This probable Asian gull is now returning for at least the 6th winter.

2. On 30 December 2021, Larry Gardella reported 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the Magnolia Springs Landfill in Baldwin County, Alabama. This is an apparent high count for coastal AL. 

3. On 23-27 December 2021, Chuck Slusarczyk Jr reported a banded adult Ring-billed Gull from Clevland (0785-64995). This is apparently the same individual found here last winter which holds the longevity record for the species. When confirmed, 0785-64995, should be just short of 30 years old. 

December 2021 Quiz

 

December. Indiana.

Age: This is a large four-cycle gull. The tips to the primaries (p5-p6) directly below the tertials have what appear to be emarginated, pointed tips. Using this feature alone may be misleading and can easily invite thoughts of a 1st cycle. However, the paling iris, gray scaps and mantle feathers, marbled greater coverts and tertials, all combine for a fairly typical 2nd cycle. 

Identification: The shorter legs, small head, and relatively small bill with no bulging gonys angle, give the impression of a refined gull. Plumage-wise, the uniform upperparts with cream-colored aspect have a frosted appearance. The stippling on the greater coverts and tertials, with pale-edged primary tips recall some pale, white-winged influence. This individual is too compact for our larger and more powerful four-cycle gulls such as Glaucous-winged and its hybrids. It also appears too small for Glaucous x Herring, and the upperparts are too finely patterned for Herring. The brownish primaries with pale edging are rather expected on Iceland Gull, and this individual was indeed identified as such. Usually, a more gradual contrast between primaries, tertials and the body is found in Thayer's. The primaries appear too dark for Kumlien's, however. Suffice to say this is a 2nd cycle Iceland Gull with a mixture of Thayer's and Kumlien's features, with primaries tending toward the former.