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Gull Quiz


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#1 Aberrant

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 08:51 PM

I will be periodically posting gull photos that should be good practice for identification. If you'd like, also name the age of the bird as suggested by the plumage. Don't be shy!

#1


 



#2 Curlybird

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:49 AM

Okay, I'll give it a try - 1st Winter Ring-billed?

#3 Photgog

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:57 AM

Why don't you tell us the location of the bird and when the picture was taken... normal identification information.

Fraser



#4 Aberrant

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:01 AM

Whoops, sorry about forgetting to include that. This photo was taken yesterday in the San Francisco Bay Area.


#5 Photgog

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:28 AM

I think that I agree with Curley... First cycle Ring-billed Gull.  Might be American Herring but the bill on this bird looks too short for Herring.

Fraser



#6 zoutedrop

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:38 AM

Great service Aberrant.  Look forward to a long string of photos and IDs.  Very, very helpful.  It would be great when you release the answer from a particular bird if you could provide a couple of diagnostics that would help in future IDs.  Also highlight when Fraser makes an error.


#7 JAC6

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:38 PM

Matt:
Great service Aberrant.  Look forward to a long string of photos and IDs.  Very, very helpful.  It would be great when you release the answer from a particular bird if you could provide a couple of diagnostics that would help in future IDs. 

+1.  This is great, as I have started looking more carefully at the gulls I see.  Keep it up. 



#8 Aberrant

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:56 PM

Aren't you two going to offer an ID for the above gull? Big Smile


#9 Aberrant

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 07:34 PM

Here are two more. Both were taken this week in the SF Bay Area. I will reveal the identity of the first gull soon, so make your guesses!

#2

 

#3

 



#10 Curlybird

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 08:55 PM

I think #2 is another Ring-billed, maybe 2nd year?  Not sure about #3



#11 JAC6

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:15 PM

Shots in the dark:  Mew, Ring, Western or Herring.

#12 Aberrant

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:20 PM

Alright, regarding #1, the gull is indeed a first winter ring-billed. The plumage is a bit puzzling because most first winter RBs have already attained a gray mantle, such as this individual. But consider these other characteristics that should have led you to that ID: small rounded head, long primary extension (distance the primaries extend beyond the tail), and short bill with clear distinction between black tip and pink base.

 



#13 Aberrant

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:38 PM

Two poor digiscopes of the same gull, taken this week in the SF Bay Area:

#4




#14 Photgog

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:57 AM

Commenting on the # 2 bird... Second Cycle Ring-billed.

Fraser



#15 Corbett

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 06:13 PM

I'll say 3 common goldeneye in the 3rd picture. What gulls?

#16 Curlybird

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:27 PM

I took this shot today; I believe this is also a 1st winter RB Gull.  What clinched it was that there were adult RB Gulls in same group (at a park in So CA).  If I'm wrong about the ID, let me know!



#17 Aberrant

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 11:52 PM

Yes, that is indeed a first winter RB.

Anyone else want to ID the other gulls that I posted?



#18 Aberrant

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 05:23 PM

Taken today in SF Bay Area:

#5




#19 lyceel

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:48 PM

Not terribly confident about any of these, but here goes:

1.  1st Winter Ring-billed

2.  3rd Winter Western

3.  Nonbreeding Adult Herring

4.  Nonbreeding Adult Thayer's

5. 2nd Winter Herring

 

 

 



#20 Aberrant

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:53 AM

Regarding #2, it is a California gull. Note the slightly bulkier head and larger bill, dark eye, fairly dark mantle, and long primary projection. A similarly aged herring (I'll get to the age in a moment) would have a pale eye, thicker bill, more angular head, and shorter primary projection. A ring-billed would have a pale eye, long primary projection, and smaller head and bill. A western would be much bulkier with a darker mantle. 

The age of this bird is either second or third winter. The extensive gray and clean white suggests third winter, but the lack of a-spots (white spots on tips of primaries), greenish bill, and solid black tail band suggest second winter. I also see a little brown on the greater coverts, and this bird probably looks like this in flight. So I'd say second winter.

 






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