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Petaluma gull

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  • Brian Sullivan
    Calbirders I don t think it s ever appropriate to consider an identification valid based solely on one s reputation--everyone makes mistakes. That said, I
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10, 2007

      I don't think it's ever appropriate to consider an identification valid
      based solely on one's reputation--everyone makes mistakes. That said, I
      openly admit to having little experience with Vega Gull and none with
      Mongolian Gull. I'm certainly no expert on gulls, nor would I claim to be!
      This is merely an interesting bird, one that should be studied and
      discussed. Al has made some excellent points, and is certainly correct in
      stating that the tail pattern is off for Mongolian Gull--no doubt about
      that. I can't find a picture anywhere on this taxon with a tail pattern
      like this. What it is, I don't know, when gulls aren't typical, it's often
      best to leave them unidentified. That said, I'd expect any white-winged
      gull hybrid to have paler primaries than this. Perhaps it's some second or
      third generation hybrid, but in the field the bird really just looks like a
      Herring Gull! We'll let the rest of the experts weigh in and see what
      happens. More importantly, I'd suggest going to Petaluma and looking at the
      bird yourselves--if nothing else, it's really a cool looking bird--and one
      we'll ultimately learn from. For the record, I'd take a Smew any day over a
      weird four-year gull!


      Brian L. Sullivan
      eBird Project Leader
      Photographic Editor,
      Birds of North America Online
      Cornell Lab of Ornithology
      159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
      Ithaca, NY 14850

      Photographic Editor,
      North American Birds
      American Birding Association


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