I wanted to provide an update on the 1st cycle Herring-type Gull I found on January 11, 2017 at Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida that I thought looked like a good candidate for European Herring Gull, but could not rule out Vega Gull. I had sent photos to European observers and had posted the photos on Western Palearctic Gulls. All of the comments that I had received thought that the bird looked fine for a European Herring Gull. I have also just received comments from the Ujiharas in Japan. I have copied their comments here:
"We are not good at separating 1st winter Vega Gull and European Herring Gull, but we feel this gull looks closer to European Herring Gull rather than Vega Gull. In comparison to your bird, Vega Gulls have strong tendency to show:
1)Relatively sparser, smaller dark markings on greater coverts instead of continuous thick markings of your bird.
2)Thicker arrow-shaped or diamond-shaped dark spots to the inner primaries that range well on both outer and inner webs, instead of thinner arrow-shaped markings of your bird.
3)Darker ground color of new scapulars (though it become whitish when bleached).
And Vega Gulls tend to be late molters as one of the comments from Europe pointed out. We don't have any field experience of European Herring Gull, but we feel your bird looks identical to that."
I think that this makes a good case that this bird actually is a European Herring Gull.
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet, FL
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