Thanks for the link to Cal Yorke's photo (more exact weblink is here, 3rd set of bird photos down):
I feel confident (.05 level of significance!) that this is the bird that Santa Monica Bay Audubon saw later the same day (Sunday, Feb 27) about 10:30 - 11 am.
Notice the overall orangish cast to the bill. Such an orangish cast was among the descriptive comments by several of the birders who had seen it earlier.
I thought the legs were much brighter yellow than the picture shows. However, we saw it 2 weeks later than the photo date.
The bird we saw also had a very clean white head, as does the photo'd bird. If any of our group could detect a size difference from the (other) Western Gulls around it, I didn't hear about it.
Lillian and I went back to the lagoon on Mon. 2/28 and combed the gulls for about 2 hours.
We didn't refind this particular bird, but did find the following, which we pass on as a caveat to other birders
There were 3-6 California gulls with bright yellow legs. They also had distinctly orangish casts to their bills. Several of them had a bit less black on the bill-tips than one might expect and the red spot was very bright. Red orbital rings. The bright sunlight at the lagoon was also creating some optical illusions. Many of the gulls looked darker than they usually do. This "illusion" was heavily dependent upon the angle between sun, viewer and bird. It also depended on whether they were facing into or away from the wind.
I wonder if this orangish cast on the bill might not be the result of a significant portion of their diet consisting of carotinoid-containing shellfish.
North Hills, Ca
At 09:56 AM 2/28/2011, Kimball Garrett wrote:
>Lesser Black-backed Gull is a CBRC review species with only a couple of
>prior accepted records for Los Angeles County, so I hope that
>documentation of this bird at Malibu Lagoon will be forthcoming. I did
>want to alert observers that there has been an adult Western Gull at
>Malibu Lagoon with yellow legs. Cal Yorke found and photographed this
>bird -- see:
>It is my opinion (shared by Guy McCaskie) that Cal's bird is a Western
>rather than a Yellow-footed Gull, based on structure, pinkish tint to
>the foot webbing, flesh/pink (rather than orangish) tinge to the yellow
>on the legs, and bill thickness that is unremarkable for a Western Gull.
>I photographed a similar-looking "yellowish-legged" Western Gull in San
>Diego years ago -- this photo is published as Plate 31.2 on p. 221 in
>Howell and Dunn's "Gulls of the Americas." I'm not in a position to
>suggest that the Lesser Black-backed Gull was this yellow-legged Western
>Gull, but it is something to be aware of.
>Pacific Golden-Plover has also been an exceptional rarity in the County
>the last decade or so (since the demise of the regular wintering
>"population" of one to a few birds in the Ballona Wetland salt pans);
>documentation for that bird would also be greatly appreciated.
>Kimball L. Garrett
>Ornithology Collections Manager
>Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
>900 Exposition Blvd.
>Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA
>From: <mailto:LACoBirds%40yahoogroups.com>LACoBirds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LACoBirds@yahoogroups.com] On
>Behalf Of BarbaraJ
>Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 2:25 PM
>Subject: [LACoBirds] Lesser Black-backed Gull At Malibu Lagoon
>Sunday, February 27
>Becky and Steve Turley, Irwin Woldman, Mel Sigman and I found
>a Lesser Black-backed Gull among the hundreds of Gulls at Malibu
>Lagoon this morning. Also, with the many Black-bellied Plovers
>we had single Pacific Golden-Plover.
>Other highlights included several Glaucous-winged Gulls, one Mew
>Gull, three Black Skimmers, a Horned Grebe by the pier, and a
>Red-throated Loon in the surf.
> From the first bridge we had three Sora and one Virginia Rail.
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