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Possible misidentified gull species

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  • John Wenger
    While near the north RR tunnel at Westchester Lagoon at 4pm today, Kris Cassidy and I were told by a local birder that he had just seen two Black-headed Gulls
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20 10:17 PM
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      While near the north RR tunnel at Westchester Lagoon at 4pm today, Kris Cassidy and I were told by a local birder that he had just seen two Black-headed Gulls at Ship Creek near the restaurant. He described them quite well...we thought. Chris took off to hopefully relocate them and I headed south on the Coastal Trail, passing under the RR tunnel to the first open site with the bench. After scoping the numerous shorebirds, ducks, and other suspected species, I noticed near the shore two gulls flying in from the north, saying "these are my FOS Bonaparte's Gull. However, the light was perfect and the trailing legs glowed- bright red. Foolishly, my mind when right to the two BHGU seen a half-hour ago and they were flying from that exact direction. The two birds dropped down in small gullies about 100 feet from the water's edge and we lost sight of them for another half hour. Then many birders arrived and we were giving them info about the BHGU that we thought we were looking for. Eventually, the two birds showed themselves quiet well and 4-5 scopes were on them. Now, the sad part- after getting home I called Kris to hear his story. He did see the two and got several shots but from his photos, both birds have dark bills:(. Unfortunately, he did not get a shot of them flying to see if the underwings were dark (as in the BHGU). SOOOOOO, unless someone there with me got a good look of red bills with a spotting scope, which would confirm a BHGU, we totally spaced out on our common Bonaparte's Gull. Please respond if by any chance someone is sure they saw a red bill. Otherwise, it made for a very exciting time:). John Wenger Anchorage
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