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Slaty-backed Gull at HMB yesterday?

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  • Dan Singer
    Hi all, Apologies for this tardy report. Yesterday while I was photographing the second cycle Glaucous Gull at the mouth of Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay,
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2011
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      Hi all,

      Apologies for this tardy report.

      Yesterday while I was photographing the second cycle Glaucous Gull at the mouth of Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay, Kathy Parker kindly pointed out a gull with a lot of smudginess around the eye. It looked pretty interesting so I thought I had better get some photos in case the flock spooked and before attempting to get any closer. I spent the next several minutes trying to get some digiscope images, and consequently hardly anytime studying the bird in the field. The next thing I knew a dog ran into the creek, the flock took flight, many birds departed, and some settled back down, though farther away. I never saw the darn bird again. Kind of frustrating!

      I think the photos show a lot that suggests schistisagus, and I can't add much to what you can see here, since I spent so little time actually looking at the bird. The smudginess around the eyes was extensive, as if the bird spent a little too much time in front of the makeup mirror. The eye is paling, and large in proportion to head size. I never saw the entire bird as it was always partially blocked by other birds so I can't comment on other structural aspects.

      I'm not sure there is enough here to conclusively ID this thing, but at the moment I think it is very likely a Slaty-backed. However, this species is a major rarity and I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I was unable to study the bird adequately in the field. So, perhaps I'm off base on this. I'd appreciate some feedback. Thanks.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/27623718@N06/sets/72157626209523982/

      Dan Singer
      Pacifica, CA



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Todd Easterla
      Dan, Many things seem to fit in my opinion for SBGU but the underwing seems really dark over all for this species to me, if I m seeing things correctly. Todd
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 6, 2011
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        Dan,

        Many things seem to fit in my opinion for SBGU but the underwing seems really dark over all for this species to me, if I'm seeing things correctly.


        Todd


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Dan Singer
        To: calgulls@yahoogroups.com ; Calbirds
        Cc: Pen-bird
        Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 11:45 AM
        Subject: [calgulls] Slaty-backed Gull at HMB yesterday?




        Hi all,


        Apologies for this tardy report.


        Yesterday while I was photographing the second cycle Glaucous Gull at the mouth of Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay, Kathy Parker kindly pointed out a gull with a lot of smudginess around the eye. It looked pretty interesting so I thought I had better get some photos in case the flock spooked and before attempting to get any closer. I spent the next several minutes trying to get some digiscope images, and consequently hardly anytime studying the bird in the field. The next thing I knew a dog ran into the creek, the flock took flight, many birds departed, and some settled back down, though farther away. I never saw the darn bird again. Kind of frustrating!


        I think the photos show a lot that suggests schistisagus, and I can't add much to what you can see here, since I spent so little time actually looking at the bird. The smudginess around the eyes was extensive, as if the bird spent a little too much time in front of the makeup mirror. The eye is paling, and large in proportion to head size. I never saw the entire bird as it was always partially blocked by other birds so I can't comment on other structural aspects.


        I'm not sure there is enough here to conclusively ID this thing, but at the moment I think it is very likely a Slaty-backed. However, this species is a major rarity and I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I was unable to study the bird adequately in the field. So, perhaps I'm off base on this. I'd appreciate some feedback. Thanks.


        http://www.flickr.com/photos/27623718@N06/sets/72157626209523982/


        Dan Singer
        Pacifica, CA





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Alvaro Jaramillo
        Folks Just my two cents, this looks like a perfectly fine Slaty-backed Gull to me. The lighting conditions are difficult, but this is one dark backed bird when
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 6, 2011
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          Folks



          Just my two cents, this looks like a perfectly fine Slaty-backed Gull to
          me. The lighting conditions are difficult, but this is one dark backed bird
          when comparing to others in the photo. A second cycle Western without yellow
          at the bill base by this time of the year would be unusual. Similarly a
          Western with such a mottled back at this time of year is rare, they are
          pretty solid grey backed by this point in their life. Additionally the super
          yellow eye, streaking pattern, and even the pattern on the coverts look best
          for a Slaty-backed Gull. I think it is too dark to be a clear hybrid Western
          x Glaucous-winged; I think this bird is a Slaty-backed.



          Cheers,



          Alvaro



          Alvaro Jaramillo

          chucao@...

          Half Moon Bay, California



          Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide

          www.fieldguides.com

          _____

          From: peninsula-birding@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:peninsula-birding@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Singer
          Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 11:46 AM
          To: calgulls@yahoogroups.com; Calbirds
          Cc: Pen-bird
          Subject: [pen-bird] Slaty-backed Gull at HMB yesterday?





          Hi all,

          Apologies for this tardy report.

          Yesterday while I was photographing the second cycle Glaucous Gull at the
          mouth of Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay, Kathy Parker kindly pointed out
          a gull with a lot of smudginess around the eye. It looked pretty interesting
          so I thought I had better get some photos in case the flock spooked and
          before attempting to get any closer. I spent the next several minutes trying
          to get some digiscope images, and consequently hardly anytime studying the
          bird in the field. The next thing I knew a dog ran into the creek, the flock
          took flight, many birds departed, and some settled back down, though farther
          away. I never saw the darn bird again. Kind of frustrating!

          I think the photos show a lot that suggests schistisagus, and I can't add
          much to what you can see here, since I spent so little time actually looking
          at the bird. The smudginess around the eyes was extensive, as if the bird
          spent a little too much time in front of the makeup mirror. The eye is
          paling, and large in proportion to head size. I never saw the entire bird as
          it was always partially blocked by other birds so I can't comment on other
          structural aspects.

          I'm not sure there is enough here to conclusively ID this thing, but at the
          moment I think it is very likely a Slaty-backed. However, this species is a
          major rarity and I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I was unable to study
          the bird adequately in the field. So, perhaps I'm off base on this. I'd
          appreciate some feedback. Thanks.

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/27623718@N06/sets/72157626209523982/

          Dan Singer
          Pacifica, CA

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





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