Thursday, 6 December 2012

Gullzzz @ Columbia Lake

Can't get enough of them!

But first...
My first CANG with a neck collar - already sent in the info:

There were a lot of new geese at Columbia Lake today!

My first GBBG for the year in the county...finally! This guy brought me to my goal of 190 for the year in the county!

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was nearby - I haven't seen it (assuming it's the same one) since Nov 2:

This 1st winter gull stood out with its neatly checkered mantle:

It had a mostly black bill, somewhat whitish tips to the primaries, and mostly brown tertials:

I didn't see the spreadwing or underwing...
And the head shape seems somewhat intermediate between Herring and Thayer's.

What are your thoughts? Herring or Thayer's?

A Northern Shrike has been at Columbia Lake lately - hopefully it'll overwinter here:


  1. Interesting gull! I'll say Thayer's (male) - males tend to have more squared heads like what you'd expect on a Herring. The wingtips are a bit dark but otherwise I think it looks ok. Maybe it has a HERG grandparent or something.

  2. That is NOT a Herring Gull in my humble opinion... I would say it is either

    1.) a Thayer's

    2.) a dark "Nelson's" hybrid

    or an outside chance at

    3.) Slaty-backed Gull

  3. Really interesting bird...some things that seem un-SBGU like to me are the overall fairly pale coloration (though quite a lot of variation with juv SBGU it seems), relatively short legs and relatively long wing projection. That bill is not as thick as what I would expect to see on a SBGU.

    I would lean towards a Thayer's Gull, though it looks a little wonky. If it was a Nelson's I think that it looks more typical of a backcross (I don't have much experience with Nelson's though). If it was a "pure" Nelson's (50% of each parent) one would think that it would have a blockier head shape, overall paler colour with paler primaries, etc. I just don't see much of the GLGU parentage if it was a Nelson's.

    Whatever it is, it's a bit weird!

  4. Thanks everyone for the comments!
    I'm still not convinced as to what it is.
    I'll probably post some more in depth thoughts on the identification soon...

    seems like a good excuse for a blog post ;)

    Hopefully I can refind the bird and get some shots of the spread wing.

  5. Hey Alvan, when are you going to be back home ? We're going to have to add at least a few good birds to the winter list !