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Mystery Gull in SBA county- ID Help

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  • Jamie Chavez
    I found this odd gull at Gaviota State Beach in Santa Barbara County yesterday and can t quite put my finger on it. It could be a hybrid (or not), and a couple
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 2007
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      I found this odd gull at Gaviota State Beach in Santa Barbara County yesterday and can't quite put my finger on it. It could be a hybrid (or not), and a couple of opinions suggest it's just a Ring-billed Gull lacking the black ring. The problem I have with this is this bird lacks a pale eye which is expected in Ring-billed, and Lesser Black-backed Gull, which was my first jump to conclusion, should also have a pale eye and a darker mantle. It looks superficially like a small version of a Western Gull but with yellow legs. I read in Howell and Dunn "Gulls of the Americas" that Western can have yellow legs, but there is no mention of that bird being smaller in size than a typical Western. This gull was obviously smaller. I have never seen a Western with yellow legs myself. Photos are available from the link at the bottom. I would appreciate feedback.
      ______________
      Jamie M. Chavez
      Santa Maria, CA

      <")
      ( \
      / |``

      ------------------------------------
      FWD from sbcobirding...

      Here were my impressions:

      1. Medium-sized gull in nearly apparent breeding plumage (or possible 3rd cycle?).
      2. Size approximately that of nearby Heermann's Gull, perhaps larger than Ring-billed Gull (none present). Smaller than California Gull.
      3. Mantle color medium-slate gray. Intermediate in color between California and Western Gull. Some darker feathers on scapulars and wing coverts.
      4. Primaries blackish with no obvious white tips to the folded wings.
      5. White head and underparts.
      6. Legs and feet yellowish or yellow-green.
      7. Bill yellow like Western Gull with large red spot on lower mandible (gonys). Slight orange spot or mark on upper mandible. Orange-red gape.
      8. Bright red orbital ring around eyes. Obviously more red than single adult Western Gull nearby.
      9. Eye color appeared fairly dark, but iris darker visible through spotting scope.
      10. Bird only observed in flight once from below- outer most primaries blackish. Remainder of primaries dark gray as well as trailing edge of wing.

      Admittedly I thought this might be a Lesser Black-backed Gull at first but there are problems with this. The eyes should be pale, and there should be white primary feather tips in adult plumage. Looking at other sources of information, including the new Gulls of the Americas book by Howell and Dunn, I am stumped. Before going the direction of Lesser Black-backed or even more unusual- Yellow-footed, Yellow-legged or Kelp Gull, the possibility of a hybrid must be considered. I am eager to read responses so feel free to comment.

      Photos:

      http://community.webshots.com/album/559332197CRzqqD



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ann Yasuda
      Have you looked at the Yellow Legged Gull of Europe. See what you think. Ann Yasuda Davis
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 6, 2007
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        Have you looked at the Yellow Legged Gull of Europe.
        See what you think.

        Ann Yasuda
        Davis

        --- Jamie Chavez <almiyi@...> wrote:

        > I found this odd gull at Gaviota State Beach in
        > Santa Barbara County yesterday and can't quite put
        > my finger on it.
      • Alvaro Jaramillo
        Jaime That is a California Gull, the issue is that it has extra carotenoid pigment on the bill. This kind of thing happens sometimes on Western Gulls as well,
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 6, 2007
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          Jaime



          That is a California Gull, the issue is that it has extra carotenoid
          pigment on the bill. This kind of thing happens sometimes on Western Gulls
          as well, you will see these amazing orange-red bills, and even a yellow wash
          to their usually pink legs. Now Californias are known for having a red and
          black spot on the gonydeal expansion. What is not usually noticed on them
          though is that the dark smudge becomes small, and often disappears
          altogether on breeding adults. They quickly re-gain it, so where most
          birders see California Gulls you tend to see them with a red and dark bill
          smudge. So the time of year (minimum black) and the extra pigments on the
          bill of that bird, are what are making it look odd. But check out the
          vermilion orbital ring, and fleshy gape, as well as the dark eye, all are
          perfectly good California Gull features. The leg color, structure of the
          bird, back tone (compare to the other Cal in photo), and large white mirror
          on P10 all are California features as well.



          Cheers



          Alvaro



          Alvaro Jaramillo

          HYPERLINK "mailto:chucao@..."chucao@...

          Half Moon Bay, California



          Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide

          HYPERLINK "http://www.fieldguides.com"www.fieldguides.com

          _____

          From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Jamie Chavez
          Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 5:54 AM
          To: Calbirds
          Subject: [CALBIRDS] Mystery Gull in SBA county- ID Help



          I found this odd gull at Gaviota State Beach in Santa Barbara County
          yesterday and can't quite put my finger on it. It could be a hybrid (or
          not), and a couple of opinions suggest it's just a Ring-billed Gull lacking
          the black ring. The problem I have with this is this bird lacks a pale eye
          which is expected in Ring-billed, and Lesser Black-backed Gull, which was my
          first jump to conclusion, should also have a pale eye and a darker mantle.
          It looks superficially like a small version of a Western Gull but with
          yellow legs. I read in Howell and Dunn "Gulls of the Americas" that Western
          can have yellow legs, but there is no mention of that bird being smaller in
          size than a typical Western. This gull was obviously smaller. I have never
          seen a Western with yellow legs myself. Photos are available from the link
          at the bottom. I would appreciate feedback.
          ____________-__
          Jamie M. Chavez
          Santa Maria, CA

          <")
          ( \
          / |``

          ---------------------------------------
          FWD from sbcobirding.-..

          Here were my impressions:

          1. Medium-sized gull in nearly apparent breeding plumage (or possible 3rd
          cycle?).
          2. Size approximately that of nearby Heermann's Gull, perhaps larger than
          Ring-billed Gull (none present). Smaller than California Gull.
          3. Mantle color medium-slate gray. Intermediate in color between California
          and Western Gull. Some darker feathers on scapulars and wing coverts.
          4. Primaries blackish with no obvious white tips to the folded wings.
          5. White head and underparts.
          6. Legs and feet yellowish or yellow-green.
          7. Bill yellow like Western Gull with large red spot on lower mandible
          (gonys). Slight orange spot or mark on upper mandible. Orange-red gape.
          8. Bright red orbital ring around eyes. Obviously more red than single adult
          Western Gull nearby.
          9. Eye color appeared fairly dark, but iris darker visible through spotting
          scope.
          10. Bird only observed in flight once from below- outer most primaries
          blackish. Remainder of primaries dark gray as well as trailing edge of wing.

          Admittedly I thought this might be a Lesser Black-backed Gull at first but
          there are problems with this. The eyes should be pale, and there should be
          white primary feather tips in adult plumage. Looking at other sources of
          information, including the new Gulls of the Americas book by Howell and
          Dunn, I am stumped. Before going the direction of Lesser Black-backed or
          even more unusual- Yellow-footed, Yellow-legged or Kelp Gull, the
          possibility of a hybrid must be considered. I am eager to read responses so
          feel free to comment.

          Photos:

          HYPERLINK
          "http://community.webshots.com/album/559332197CRzqqD"http://community.-websh
          ots.-com/album/-559332197CRzqqD

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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