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17843Re: [MOB-Montana] Two interesting gulls

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  • Chuck Carlson
    Nov 22, 2013
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      For the first gull, your size comparison was a bit puzzling and did seem to rule out Glaucous-winged, but after a bit of research I found that there is an overlap in measured length between California Gull and Glaucous-winged Gull. However, the primaries and tertials seem to be a bit dark for a Glaucous-winged. None of the illustrations in Howell and Dunn show these feathers as dark as yours, but the presumed Glaucous-winged x Herring illustrations look quite similar. I think your though about the hybrid is right.
      I would have to say that my first thought on seeing such a bird here would have been Thayer’s, given the size and coloration. However the bill shape would have been a problem for that. Very interesting.
      Chuck Carlson
      Ft. Peck
      Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:40 PM
      Subject: [MOB-Montana] Two interesting gulls


      This afternoon I found and photographed two very interesting gulls (with apologies to those of you to whom "very interesting gulls" is an oxymoron).  The first was a relatively small (for the species) Glaucous-winged Gull.  It was approximately the size of a California Gull, with folded primaries just a shade darker than the rest of the wing and back. It had a pretty prominent gonydeal angle ("blob-tipped" bill), that was marginally lighter at the base.  All of these features may hint at mixed parentage (e.g. Western or Herring). 
      The other most interesting bird was a particularly small-billed, light Thayer's Gull that also had a lightish yellow-green bill with black tip. It also appeared fairly small and long-winged, and indeed may be a bird in the middle of the "Thayer's-Kumlien (Iceland) Gull" cline.  It certainly was different than the thr ee other firstwinter Thayer's present. 
      Still 2,000 or so gulls present, not all of them easily studied in the muddy topography of the landfill.  Ring-billeds dominated; very few Californias, a good many Herrings. No Mew or Lesser Black-backed, and no Glaucous yet, either.
      Photos will be posted momentarily. I welcome comments to either.
      Dan Casey
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