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Vega Gulls?

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  • Alvaro Jaramillo
    Birders Sorry for the cross-posting to those of you on all three of these lists. Well, we have not seen the Slaty-backed Gulls for some time now, but they
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7 4:19 PM
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      Birders

      Sorry for the cross-posting to those of you on all three of these lists.
      Well, we have not seen the Slaty-backed Gulls for some time now, but they
      could be there still. The gull flock in Half Moon Bay, CA numbers into the
      many thousands, it is impossible to see them all and there is much daily
      turnover. Well, as we have been carefully scrutinizing the gulls there we
      have noted birds that fit our idea of what Vega Gulls (Asian member of the
      Herring Gull complex) look like. Several birders including Ryan Terrill,
      Steve Howell and myself had a quick look at a first cycle Vega Gull on Jan
      30. Dan Singer photographed a good candidate (the same bird?) on Feb 2, and
      today I saw what appears to be the same bird that Dan saw. The
      identification of these birds is tentative, as they are gulls, and ID
      criteria are still in their infancy. However, I think a very strong case can
      be made for this bird (or birds if more than one is out there) being a Vega
      Gull. Those of you still looking for Slaty-backed Gull should be on the
      lookout for these Vega type birds as well. The genetic data suggests they
      are not closely related to our smithsonianus Herring Gull. The AOU may end
      up splitting this species from our Herring Gull, an action that has already
      been taken by the Clements list as I understand.

      Also, last winter I saw and photographed another which I also think is a
      Vega Gull. Both birds can be seen here:

      http://www.birdsofchile.com/vega.htm

      Comments welcome. These pages are still under construction, I will
      eventually replace the Birds of Chile header with something more
      appropriate.

      Cheers

      Al

      Alvaro Jaramillo
      chucao@...
      Half Moon Bay, CA

      Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide
      http://www.fieldguides.com/home.htm
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