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7137comments on possible Iceland Gull

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  • Jim Stevenson
    May 1 5:20 AM
      First, let me say I am no expert on this species, unlike my every-summer Alaskan experience with Glaucous and G-winged. I haven’t seen many, and these comments are a lot more arm-chair ornithology than experiential.

      The bird Jim was kind enough to send me pictures of may very well be an Iceland, as far as my experience goes. It clearly isn’t the size of a Glaucous, so the size might be good for Iceland. It may even be the odds on favorite.

      I have three problems with the gull’s head, though. First, it’s a little flat for what I remember Iceland being, as the large gulls tend to have flatter heads than medium-sized larids like Iceland. Second, the light iris doesn’t seem to fit with young Icelands, as I might have expected it to be darker at the apparent age of this bird. Third, I would have preferred to see a dark tip, rather than a neat ring, but I’m not sure how important that is.

      You would be smart to ask me at this point just what I thought it was. Touche. What I think it is (depending on what the definition of “is” is), is only speculation, but I wonder about a genetically altered Ring-billed Gull. One that lacked pigment could look an awful lot like this bird, and I have seen one such beast here on the Galveston coast a few years back. No picture, but other saw it and the general consensus among the experts was (what we used to call) “albino” Ring-billed.

      Bear in mind, I am NOT calling it that, it’s just a possibility that needs to be considered. These genetic aberrations are rare in nature, of course, but so are Iceland Gulls in Florida – let alone the Gulf Coast in late April. And it is also possible that it will NOT be identified unless it has a coronary right there on the pier. [At least there a dock nearby. Bad joke.]

      As usual, Jim, great job, and keep finding those good birds!

      Jim in Galveston

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