01 June 2024

May 2024 Monthly Notables


  1. Common Gull (adult). Baraga County, Michigan. 02 May 2024.
    • Apparent 1ST STATE RECORD.
  2. Slaty-backed Gull (adult type). Le Rocher-Perce County, Quebec. 07 May 2024.
  3. Ross's Gull (1st cycle). St. Paul Island. Alaska. 23 May 2024.
  4. Black-headed Gull (1st cycle). Baraga County, Michigan. 26 May 2024.
    • 1st Record for Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 
  5. Black-tailed Gull (adult). Lake County, Illinois. 29 May 2024.
    • 3rd State Record.


  • A putative Short-billed x Ring-billed (female) hybrid was found with a Short-billed Gull (male) in Fairbanks, Alaska on 07 May 2024. Initially reported by Josh Spice and subsequently seen by others. The two adults appeared to be paired up (no nest reported) and were observed billing and copulating. The hybrid is closely tending toward Ring-billed, but with a tapered bill tip showing a noticeably thin black ring, and broader than expected white tertial crescent. In addition to location, another supporting feature for a hybrid, which isn't conclusive in the images, is an apparent dusky iris (not clear yellow). The observer noted a Ring-billed quality to its voice. Photos on eBird can be found here and here.

  • An apparent May high count of 38 Iceland Gulls for the Great Lakes region, and likely the entire interior, was reported on 04 May 2024 by Woody Goss in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. A minimum of 23 first cycle types, 7 second cycle, 4 third cycle and 4 adults were recorded. The observer noted there could have been more 1st cycle types. This site typically sees 1-3 Iceland Gulls summering here most years.

May 2024 Quiz


England. December.

Age: 1st cycle.

Identification: Our May Quiz looks like a four-cycle species, with a noticeable old-world tail pattern. Observers in North America would expect a Lesser Black-backed to approach this look, but the heavily barred/checkered greater coverts and pale inner primary window point away from that species. Might this be a Great Black-backed? Size and structure, particularly the small head and proportionally small bill, among other things, are wrong for that species.

Given the location, the overall dilute brown upperparts look typical of European Herring Gull, and indeed the dark subterminal spots on the inner primaries, with adjacent white capsules on the outer webs, look "spot on" for that species.