On Thu, 30 May 2002, Kurt Radamaker wrote:

> One character of Kelp Gull is the small
> amount of white in the primaries, white mirror on P1 only, and the wing tip
> is black. In the photos I see quite a bit of white and it looks like P1 has
> white extending to the tip? and P2 has lots of white?

One of the URLs that Noel mentioned has a flight photo of a putative Kelp
Gull that shows absolutely no white mirror (sub-apical white spot) on P10
(which is actually the correct designation for the outermost primary):

Either that one's not a Kelp Gull, or it's a variable feature.  Of all the
guides that cover the species (Grant doesn't), only Harrison says the
feature is "variable in extent" but doesn't say "sometimes absent."
However, comments on a similar gull on Bob Lewis's page were explained
thusly: "The absence of white on the primaries (also not seen by Graham
White or myself in the field) puzzled a few; presumably the white has worn

Steve Hampton's site...
... indicates that 35% of adult Kelp Gulls have a small mirror on P9.

That fact, along with the possibility of wear of feather tips and/or one
or more new primaries not quite grown to full length may account for the
apparent anomaly pointed out by Kurt (e.g., the very tip of the folded
wing--distalmost P10--should be black on an adult in fresh plumage, but
apparently that's not the case with the Captiva bird, which seems to have
a white tip).

As for leg color of the Captiva bird, I agree with Kurt: all photos
showing the legs (including 5-8) appear the same shade of dull pinkish on
my monitor.  Following Lee's comments, that would seem to be the actual
color of the legs (given that the other colors seem natural).  Not the
ideal "dull yellow to olive-gray" the species is supposed to have ever
after the first winter (in which they are pinkish), so that remains the
most puzzling feature.  Still, this could be some trick of light or result
of digitizing or non-true colors on computer monitors, or, yet another
variable feature (?).

Brad Bergstrom, Ph.D., Professor           TEL  229-333-5770 /-5759
Department of Biology                      FAX  229-245-6585
Valdosta State University                  e-mail: [log in to unmask]
Valdosta, GA 31698-0015                    Home: 229-333-0743
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