11508Heermann's Gull update
- Aug 15, 2014
Essentially there are no juvenile Heermann’s Gulls being seen on the West Coast. Today I saw my first juvenile in Half Moon Bay after diligent looking at hundreds on most days. There were 860 Heermann’s on the beach here today, which is a large number for our county, and the one juvenile. Birds from last year, the uniform chocolate-brown birds, comprised about 20% of the flock to give an idea of how few juveniles there are. Uniform chocolate-brown birds molting primary feathers are young from last year. Juveniles should look scaly (pale fringed) on the coverts, paler brown, than the older birds. BJ Stacey sent me the only photo I have seen of a juvenile this year from Sinaloa, Mex:
Guy McCaskie reports that he has not seen any Juvenile Yellow-footed Gulls either this year (that was over a week ago, things may have changed). Based on Half Moon Bay numbers, which may not be representative, right now juvenile Heermann’s are about 1 in a thousand! That is looooowwww. There is a chance that the few that are out there have not pushed north yet, and we will get an influx. But the overall pattern shows how bad the breeding season for seabirds was in Baja this year!! Elegant Terns fared better as it appears that a sizeable portion flew Baja, and re-nested in San Diego later than usual, where conditions were better.
BTW, Michael Force doing a research cruise had a couple of Juan Fernandez Petrels 265 miles WSW of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County. As the petrel flies, that is only a couple of hours flying to get to California waters!!