01 March 2024

February 2024 Quiz


Illinois. December.

Age: A somewhat cryptic plumage aspect that initially suggests 1st cycle. However, looking closely at p10, there is a small mirror seen on both wings. The axillaries are contrastingly pale, which also points away from a 1st cycle, but admittedly, this ties directly with identification discussed below. The pattern on the secondaries on the far wing is plain and irregularly colored, and the tongues on p6-p8 are deep and neatly demarcated, which combine for a 2nd cycle large gull.

Identification: This individual has a fairly small head, gentle bill and apparent small body, making for a docile appearance. The grayish-brown plumage aspect seems uniform and points away from species such as Herring, which are decidedly darker brown with greater contrast throughout. Importantly, the underside to the outer primaries is typical of a "pale-winged" species, such as Iceland and Glaucous-winged. Given the apparent size and structure, and pattern to the upperside of the outer primaries (far wing), we can comfortably rule out Glaucous-winged. 

Our February Quiz bird is a 2nd cycle type Thayer's Gull.