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2nd Winter Caliifornia Gull?


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#1 jblakelock

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:46 PM

I'm a little shaky with gulls so I'm not sure if this is a 2nd Winter California Gull.  Taken on the California coast a few days ago. Thanks.

#2 ColoTomo

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

You may be a little "shaky" but at least you are trying !  I'll give you one hint.  California Gulls have dark eyes at every age.... keep guessing, I will weigh in later



#3 jblakelock

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:10 PM

Thanks again ColoTomo for you help.  I forget about the eyes.  Taking them into consideration now I'm thinking 2nd Winter Herring.  

#4 ColoTomo

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:55 PM

I am leaning strongly to 2nd winter Western Gull.  The very light eyes look like Herring, but actually, 2nd winter Western can have eyes that range from light to brown.

Other field marks I'm looking at-- note the gray in the mantle that's coming in on the back is dark. It would be lighter in Herring Gull. 

Probably the major field mark has to do with the pale at the base and dark at the tip.  A 2nd winter Western has variability in the amount of black and pale -but a key feature is that it doesn't make a clear cut line and that it's more black than pale.  A 2nd winter Herring has a neat line w/black at the tip and the bill is mostly pale



#5 jblakelock

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:26 PM

Thanks again for the input.  I'll fill you in on my train of thoughts on this bird.  It was the gray mantle that led me first to the California Gull.  I thought it was too light for a Western, but as you pointed it out these are definitely not California eyes.  So I looked again and although the Herring Gull seemed a bit light the eyes were a perfect match.  Unfortunately my field guide doesn't show the variability with reference to the 2nd winter Western;  it shows black at the tip and describes the eyes as yellow.  Another thing I noticed that points in the Western direction is the strong distinction between the dark wing feathers and the white lining at the tip of the wing ( I hope I'm describing that accurately).  Again thanks for being willing to go into the details of your identification;  I'm definitely learning.

#6 ColoTomo

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:16 AM

For the record, I got confirmation from my gull guru that this is indeed western gull. if you would like his response, please p.m. me

#7 Aberrant

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:53 PM

Yep western gull, compare this bird with the similarly aged glaucous-winged that Liam posted.


#8 jblakelock

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:55 PM

Thanks Tom, but not sure how PM you.  Can't see any profiles.  

Also thanks Aberrant for the 2nd.  






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