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Slaty-backed Gulls

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  • Ruth Rudesill
    Today Betty Groce and I may have hit for the cycle on Slaty-backed gulls! These were at the usual spot at Venice State Beach just north of Half Moon Bay off
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 9, 2006
      Today Betty Groce and I may have "hit for the cycle" on Slaty-backed gulls! These were at the usual spot at Venice State Beach just north of Half Moon Bay off Hwy 1. It was windy but the wind was coming from the southeast, and the light was excellent.

      There were thousands of gulls on the beach and bathing in the creek.

      After looking through about 1500 gulls, I spotted an adult and less than an hour later spotted a 3rd cycle bird. We continued to scope and Betty spotted an interesting 1st cycle bird on the crest of dune that very well could have been a Slaty-backed gull- it looked different than the many 1st year Westerns around it- a little larger, different structure, deeper chested, lighter plumage on head,neck - maybe?

      Then a large flock was stirred up by hikers down the beach and we got some new birds landing in front of us. Betty spotted a different adult in the creek - this one had less head streaking than the one we saw earlier. And incredibily, a few birds away in the creek was a 2nd cycle bird!

      So we had 2 adults, 1 2nd cycle, 1 3rd cycle and maybe a 1st cycle. We also had a strange gull that looked like a dark backed Herring Gull, long bill and pink legs. No Glaucous Gulls but we saw a very light Glaucous -winged type bird, all dark bill and very lightly patterned primaries - maybe a hybrid?

      Good Birding,
      Ruth Rudesill

      Kenwood CA




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    • Dan Singer
      Hi birders, I saw two and possibly three Slaty-backed Gulls today at Venice Beach in Half Moon Bay. There were two different second cycle birds present off and
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 17, 2007
        Hi birders,



        I saw two and possibly three Slaty-backed Gulls today at Venice Beach in
        Half Moon Bay. There were two different second cycle birds present off and
        on between noon and 2:30pm. The first one was the same individual found by
        Ron Thorn last week. It had a mostly pink bill with a dark tip and whitish
        wing coverts. The second bird had a mostly dark bill with just a small
        amount of paling towards the base. It had paler eyes than the other bird and
        showed considerably more streaking on the head and neck and more shading
        around the eye. The coverts were also bleached whitish. The possible
        first-cycle bird was only seen for 15-20 minutes and was loafing a ways
        south of the parking lot. This bird was very pale except for brown
        primaries, secondaries and tail. This is the same bird seen here on Friday,
        9 March by Todd Easterla, Scott Terrill, Ken Rosenberg, Brian Sullivan and
        myself. I don't remember who found it then, though it wasn't me. The
        dark-billed second-cycle gull may or may not be one seen earlier in the
        winter. Hopefully a photo review will help shed light on this.



        Dan Singer

        Pacifica, CA



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