01 May 2024

April 2024 Monthly Notables


  1. Black-headed Gull (adult). Contra Costa County, California. 01 April 2024.
  2. Short-billed Gull (1st cycle). Roberts County, South Dakota. 14 April 2024.
  3. Slaty-backed Gull (adult). Marquette County, Michigan.16 April 2024.
  4. Western Gull (adult type). Washington County, Utah. 18 April 2024. 
  5. Great Black-backed Gull (subadult). Mobile County, Alabama. 21 April 2024.
  6. Yellow-footed Gull (adult type). Los Angeles County, California. 21 April 2024.
  7. Gray Gull (3rd cycle type). Baldwin County, Alabama. 23 April 2024.
    • Continuing 1st ABA Record.
  8. Little Gull (1st cycle). Del Norte County, California. 23 April 2024.
    • 3rd County Record.
  9. Swallow-tailed Gull (adult). San Francisco County, California. 25 April 2024.
    • 2nd County Record.
  10. Black-legged Kittiwake (1st cycle). Cameron Parish, Louisiana. 25 April 2024.
  1. The Swallow-tailed Gull from San Francisco County was found on Southeast Farallon Island -- a first island record. As all other records in the ABA Area, it was sporting a dark hood in alternate plumage. Active tail and innermost secondary molt.
  2. On 20 April 2024, Woody Goss reported 2 putative Kelp x Herring hybrids from Galveston County, Texas (adult and 3rd cycle type). Both in breeding condition with alternate head patterns but showing the expected grayish-yellow leg color of many Kelps. Neither had started flight feather molt. The 3rd cycle type was the more classic of the two with blob-tipped bill, blocky head and longish legs. It displayed the expected small, squarish p10 mirror set well back from the feather tip and long hand in flight. The adult type was slighter and could easily be passed off as a Lesser Black-backed, structurally, but showed too much gray (not black) on the underside of the wingtip, and noticeably large p7 pearl. Hybrid Lesser Black-backed x Herrings average less black on p8 (particularly the inner web), and don't typically show this dull leg color. 

April 2024 Quiz


California. January.

Age: 1st cycle in what appears to be complete juvenile plumage.

Identification: This juvenile is clearly a member of the large white-headed gulls (as opposed to smaller tern-like or hooded gulls). Some Slaty-backed Gulls can approach this look, especially the plain pattern to the greater coverts, paired with pale bases to the median coverts showing pointy dark tips. However, the massively thick bill, large head with proportionally small eye placed high on the face, call to mind Western and Glaucous-winged. The primaries are too dark for Glaucous-winged and too pale for Western (which doesn't show this extensive pale edging). The neatly pattern coverts (which we've noted can be found in Slaty-backed at this age) are also expected in hybrid Western x Glaucous-winged, which is what this individual was identified as. Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull is another taxon to consider, which often shows a slighter, Herring-like build, averages a thinner bill and streakier head at this date.