01 November 2023

October 2023 Quiz


September. California. 

Age: The overall fresh patterned coverts, mottled head and body, black primaries and dark tail suggest a 1st cycle.

Identification: Given the location, Western, Herring and California Gull are in the running. Several features support California Gull, including the small head, fairly straight bill that is already almost completely pale in September, as well as the long wing projection. The extensive white areas to the greater coverts are unexpected in American Herring. Western Gull is ruled out by bill size and overall structure. Also note the plain post-juvenile scapulars, which are common in California Gull, but usually dark-centered in Western. 

The October Quiz bird is a relatively large (m?) 1st cycle California Gull.