01 March 2023

February 2023 Monthly Notables


  • Vega Gull (2nd cycle). Clatsop County, Oregon. 02 February 2023.
    • A remarkable sighting as most records outside of Alaska pertain to adults.
  • California Gull (adult). Benton County, Tennessee. 02 Feb 2023
    • Presumably a returning bird from Feb 2021.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Faulkner County, Arkansas. 03 Feb 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Travis County, Texas. 07 Feb 2023
    • 1st County Record.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Dona Ana County, Arizona. 08 February 2023.
  • Common Gull (adult). Essex County, New York. 09 February 2023.
  • California Gull (1st cycle). St. Lucie County, Florida. 09 February 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th alternate). Volusia County, Florida. 09 February 2023.
    • The Atlantic coast bird, moving between Florida and North Carolina this month.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. 10 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st State Record from last month.
  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Essex County, Massachusetts.10 February 2023.
  • Common Gull (adult). Niagara County, New York. 12 February 2023.
  • Black-legged Kittiwake (juvenile). Franklin County, Indiana. 12 February 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Santa Cruz County, California. 13 February 2023.
    • A pale-winged individual.
  • California Gull (adult). Elkhart County, Indiana. 17 February 2023.
  • California Gull (adult). Santa Rosa County, Florida. 17 February 2023.
    • 1st County Record.
  • California Gull (2nd cycle). Volusia County, Florida. 19 February 2023.
  • Great Black-backed Gull (adult). Bent County, Colorado. 20 February 2023.
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Franklin County, Washington. 20 February 2023.
    • Returning adult continuing between Franklin & Benton. 
  • Vega Gull (adult). San Mateo County, California. 23 February 2023.
    • Returning adult since at least Feb 2021. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 24 February 2023.
    • 4th State Record. A different individual than the 3rd State Record in January 2023.
  • Heermann's Gull (4th alternate). Brunswick County, North Carolina. 25 February 2023.
    • The Atlantic coast bird, moving between Florida and North Carolina this month.
  • California Gull (adult). Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 25 February 2023.
  • Short-billed Gull (adult). Berrien County, Michigan. 25 February 2023.
    • Last county record 01 Jan 1993!
  • Common Gull (adult). Bristol County, Rhode Island. 26 February 2023.
    • Continuing 3rd State Record from last month.
  • Kamchatka Gull (adult). Fairfield County, Connecticut. 26 February 2023.
    • Continuing from last month.
  • Heermann's Gull (2nd cycle). Baltimore County, Maryland. 27 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st State record bird from March 2022.
  • Common Gull (adult). Tolland & Windham County, Connecticut. 27 February 2023.
    • Continuing 1st County record between Tolland and Windham. 
  • Slaty-backed Gull (subadult). St. John's County, Newfoundland. 28 February 2023.


1.    Lesser Black-backed Gull numbers in the Kennessee and Ohio River Valley region continue to increase annually while numbers on the western Great Lakes appear to have decreased in recent winters. Noteworthy are reports of over 40 individuals from Benton County, Tennessee this month.
2.    California had no less than 10 reports of Lesser Black-backed this month, with roughly half of these coming from Monterey County and points north.
3. The Fairfield County, CT Kamchatka Gull and Bristol County, RI Common Gull went missing for most of the month, suggesting an observer bias, or these birds may in fact cover a rather large winter-feeding area. 

February 2023 Quiz


Oregon. January.

Age: The rather plain wing coverts and tertials, and adult-like gray scapulars suggest a 2nd cycle individual of a large, four-cycle species.

Identification: The blob-tipped bill and smudgy head immediately evoke thoughts of Glaucous-winged Gull and Western Gull. Overall the wing coverts and primaries seem a tad too dark for Glaucous-winged, and too pale for Western (especially the pale-edged primaries, for example). Given the location, it is reasonable to assign this individual to the Olympic Gull hybrid swarm. 

Several responses this month insisted on "pure" Glaucous-winged, reinforcing the subjectivity of identifying this species. Although it may be one, the primaries appear too dark to comfortably dismiss a hybrid.