Vega Gull, others
- Matt Brady and I went to Moonglow Dairy Monterey County today 1/3. The roads
are rather muddy getting in and it was pretty hairy even with 4 wheel drive.
We had 3 NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS along the levee behind what I
presume is Pond 3 (2 were reported there in the past few days). The more
exciting bird however was what was very likely a 1st winter "VEGA" HERRING
GULL. It was in a large gull flock across the slough from the dairy. It was
also one of the very few 1st winter gulls in the flock. I was first drawn to
this bird in that it was a Herring type gull but was rather whitish and
extremely well marked. The white head, streaked neck and upp breast,
checkered coverts, dark tail band contrasting with a white rump, pink legs,
dark bill, overall light plumage and strong pattern, and the tertials and
scaps all point to Vega and not an American Herring or Slaty-backed Gull. I
tried very hard to find something wrong with the bird for being a Vega and
was unable to. Unfortunetly the bird was to far away for video. I hope
somebody else has better luck with getting photos of this bird. We had these
birds before 9 AM.
That afternoon we went to Capitola Beach Santa Cruz County at the creek mouth
where in the gull flock we had a rather interesting gull. This bird was a
dark-backed gull with bright ORANGE legs and bill. It is probably an odd
Western but something felt wrong about it. Also I am not aware of any
records of Western Gulls with anything other then pink legs. I'd like to
know if anyone out there knows about any records of Western Gull with an odd
leg color. This bird is definetly worth a stop by and check it out. I was
able to get video of this bird.
Also in Santa Cruz we had the Tufted Duck that was found on the CBC at
Westlake Pond. Very easy to see, those gleaming white sides make it easy to
pick out with the naked eye.
David Vander Pluym
UCSC Santa Cruz
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]