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RE: [NBB] Jenner gulls including Slaty-backed

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  • Eugene Hunn
    NiBBers, Always eager to chase rare gulls, I drove to Jenner after our Ellis Creek survey with Andy Lacasse, Elaine Pruett, and Ron Storey. We hiked out to the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 14, 2013
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      NiBBers,



      Always eager to chase rare gulls, I drove to Jenner after our Ellis Creek
      survey with Andy Lacasse, Elaine Pruett, and Ron Storey. We hiked out to the
      gull flock from the Goat Rock Beach parking lot opposite Jenner. We
      estimated there were about 2000 gulls loafing and bathing in the area. After
      two hours of meticulous scanning in fine weather we concluded that there
      was certainly no GLAUCOUS GULL in the mix and only several problematic ca.
      3rd cycle Western-like gulls present, one of which I think might have been
      the/a SLATY-BACKED, as reported by Todd Easterla and John Sterling
      yesterday. About which more below. The flock was ca. 80% adult and 80%
      GLAUCOUS-WINGED with a nice representation of CALIFORNIA, HERRING, and
      WESTERNs with several THAYER'S, a few MEWS, and one RING-BILLED, with maybe
      a hybrid WESTERN-GLAUCOUS-WINGED or two.



      The best candidate for SLATY-BACKED status was a large, dark-mantled (but no
      darker than the adult Westerns in the mix), pink-legged bird with a glaring
      pale iris set off by dark smudging about the eye and on the head and nape
      more generally. The bill was largely blackish, yellowish around the margins.
      There were three other odd birds of this general description, though with
      less prominent eyes with grayer irises and yellow bills with black smudges
      sub-terminally. The bill of this bird seemed longer and straighter than a
      Western or Glaucous-winged. The outer primaries were solid black, while the
      inner primaries showed pale tongues on the inner webs. The underside of the
      secondaries was white; the underside of the primaries pale gray. The
      underparts were clean white. Upper tail coverts clean white. The tail showed
      a broad blackish band with narrowly white tip and white outer-webs on the
      outer tail feathers. Our best looks were when it was swimming, so posture
      not certain.



      Since we don't know more about the bird reported yesterday except that it
      was 3rd cycle we can't say if our candidate might be the same. We might have
      called it a Slaty-backed right off except for the three other birds that
      showed several suspicious characteristics but which were less conspicuously
      different from sub-adult Westerns. The books (Olsen & Larsson and Howell &
      Webb) suggest that a Slaty-backed should be decidedly darker than our local
      Western Gulls (this bird was not darker), though the illustrative photos
      fail to support that in many cases. A bird I studied here December 16, 2011,
      which I called a 3rd cycle Slaty-backed was similar to our mystery bird,
      though noticeably darker than the accompanying Westerns.



      Gene Hunn

      Petaluma



      From: northbaybirds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:northbaybirds@yahoogroups.com]
      On Behalf Of John Sterling
      Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2013 9:13 PM
      To: Northbaybirds@Yahoogroups. Com; CALBIRDS@yahoogroups. com; Countybirders
      Subject: [NBB] Jenner gulls including Slaty-backed





      During our Gull ID Workshop, Todd Easterla did it again...he found a
      Slaty-backed Gull at Jenner at the mouth of the Russian River. It is a
      third-cycle bird so a bit trickier ID than an adult bird. Also present was a
      stunning first cycle Glaucous Gull. This is a great location to study most
      of the gull species expected in the region.

      John

      John Sterling

      26 Palm Ave
      Woodland, CA 95695
      530 908-3836
      jsterling@... <mailto:jsterling%40wavecable.com>

      www.sterlingbirds.com (photos, classes, tours, county birding)





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