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Humboldt's first LBBG candidate

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  • Tristan McKee
    Humboldt County has long awaited its first Lesser Black-backed Gull. A candidate first-cycle bird appeared at Mad River Mouth yesterday, and Ken Burton and I
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 25, 2014
      Humboldt County has long awaited its first Lesser Black-backed Gull. A candidate first-cycle bird appeared at Mad River Mouth yesterday, and Ken Burton and I spent some more time with it today, before the bird flew north by itself at about 1 pm. On the ground, the bird appeared to be a typical LBBG structurally; it was much smaller than any adjacent Herring Gull, with a very small, thin bill and a long primary projection. The rump, uppertail coverts, and tail base were white with fine dark barring. The greater coverts were not as dark as I expected in this plumage, but a quick look at February photos showed that they are often quite pale and faded by late winter. I was more disturbed when the bird flew, as the black tail band was very broad (extending to the longest uppertail coverts on the central rectrices), and there was a moderately pale inner primary window. The appearance of the latter depended greatly on lighting; sometimes it appeared nearly as bold as on a dark Herring, while at other times, the window was not obvious at all, and the primaries just looked dark.

      Is this simply what faded LBBG look like after wintering in the California sun, or should we be concerned that this is a Herring x LBBG hybrid? We would very much appreciate hearing from folks who have looked at late-winter LBBG in California or elsewhere.

      Here are the photos:


      Ken has better shots, which he will add to the NWCalbird page.

      Thanks very much,

      Tristan McKee
      Arcata, CA
    • Ken Burton
      I’m afraid my photos are a bit disappointing, but I’ve put the best in a new CALBIRDS (not NWCALBIRD) folder. Other species present for size comparison
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 25, 2014
        I’m afraid my photos are a bit disappointing, but I’ve put the best in a new CALBIRDS (not NWCALBIRD) folder.  Other species present for size comparison are Mew, California, Herring, and Thayer’s.
         
        Ken Burton
        Eureka
         
         
        Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:50 PM
        Subject: [nwcalbird] Humboldt's first LBBG candidate
         
         

        Humboldt County has long awaited its first Lesser Black-backed Gull. A candidate first-cycle bird appeared at Mad River Mouth yesterday, and Ken Burton and I spent some more time with it today, before the bird flew north by itself at about 1 pm. On the ground, the bird appeared to be a typical LBBG structurally; it was much smaller than any adjacent Herring Gull, with a very small, thin bill and a long primary projection. The rump, uppertail coverts, and tail base were white with fine dark barring. The greater coverts were not as dark as I expected in this plumage, but a quick look at February photos showed that they are often quite pale and faded by late winter. I was more disturbed when the bird flew, as the black tail band was very broad (extending to the longest uppertail coverts on the central rectrices), and there was a moderately pale inner primary window. The appearance of the latter depended greatly on lighting; sometimes it appeared nearly as bold as on a dark Herring, while at other times, the window was not obvious at all, and the primaries just looked dark.
         
        Is this simply what faded LBBG look like after wintering in the California sun, or should we be concerned that this is a Herring x LBBG hybrid? We would very much appreciate hearing from folks who have looked at late-winter LBBG in California or elsewhere.
         
        Here are the photos:
         
         
        Ken has better shots, which he will add to the NWCalbird page.
         
        Thanks very much,
         
        Tristan McKee
        Arcata, CA
      • Alvaro Jaramillo
        Tristan, This bird looks weird, but to me it does not look like a Lesser Black-backed, perhaps it is an erroneous impression from the overexposure of the
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 25, 2014

          Tristan,

           

             This bird looks weird, but to me it does not look like a Lesser Black-backed, perhaps it is an erroneous impression from the overexposure of the photos but it just looks too pale and speckled for a Lesser. Lessers do not wear as pale as Herrings from my experience with hundreds in late winter in Florida. Having said that, I may be being mislead by the photos. Key would be flight shots. Maybe it is that oddball Lesser type thing we saw in Half Moon Bay earlier in the year, no resolution on that identification unfortunately, to the chagrin of local birders.

           

          Regards,

           

          Alvaro

           

          Alvaro Jaramillo

          alvaro@alvarosadventures.com

          www.alvarosadventures.com

           

          From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tristan McKee
          Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:50 PM
          To: calbirds@yahoogroups.com; nwcalbird@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [CALBIRDS] Humboldt's first LBBG candidate

           

           

          Humboldt County has long awaited its first Lesser Black-backed Gull. A candidate first-cycle bird appeared at Mad River Mouth yesterday, and Ken Burton and I spent some more time with it today, before the bird flew north by itself at about 1 pm. On the ground, the bird appeared to be a typical LBBG structurally; it was much smaller than any adjacent Herring Gull, with a very small, thin bill and a long primary projection. The rump, uppertail coverts, and tail base were white with fine dark barring. The greater coverts were not as dark as I expected in this plumage, but a quick look at February photos showed that they are often quite pale and faded by late winter. I was more disturbed when the bird flew, as the black tail band was very broad (extending to the longest uppertail coverts on the central rectrices), and there was a moderately pale inner primary window. The appearance of the latter depended greatly on lighting; sometimes it appeared nearly as bold as on a dark Herring, while at other times, the window was not obvious at all, and the primaries just looked dark.

           

          Is this simply what faded LBBG look like after wintering in the California sun, or should we be concerned that this is a Herring x LBBG hybrid? We would very much appreciate hearing from folks who have looked at late-winter LBBG in California or elsewhere.

           

          Here are the photos:

           

           

          Ken has better shots, which he will add to the NWCalbird page.

           

          Thanks very much,

           

          Tristan McKee

          Arcata, CA

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