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RE: [pen-bird] Slaty-backed Gull at HMB yesterday?

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  • 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 1 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

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