On November 16th, during the Spacecoast Bird & WIldlife Festival I led an ID trip for Gulls & Terns (see long drawn out narrative #...?). At any rate, in my previous post I alluded to an interesting Gull that we finally ID'ed as a 2nd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull, but found it odd as it showed advanced soft part coloration (e.g. along the lines of a 3rd winter), and retarded body molt (more in lines with 1st winter) and I suggested any gull fans in the area go and look. Well this past week, I finally got my slides developed and am not entirely happy with this ID, but really don't have a better alternative. In comparing the slides, in addition to having the wrong soft part coloration/plumage characters, I have three photos showing the bird side by side with other birds. The first is with a third winter LBBG, and the mystery bird is considerably more robubst, with stouter bill. In the second it is with a winter adult LBBG and it looks a little larger (not as pronounced as in the first). In the last the bird is with a first winter Herring Gull and appears to be about the same size. 

The plumage would be ideal for a Great Black-backed in second winter, but it is far too small and the soft part color again was very yellowish. At any rate, until I get these pics posted somewhere anyone interested in seeing them and making a suggestion as to ID can e-mail me and I'll e-mail you these three shots. From my limited resources here (my Grant's Gulls has come up MIA), an abarrent 2nd winter LBBG is still probably the best bet, but would be just as happy to accept an alternative ID if someone could come up with one that fit. I suppose there is always the hybrid option as well...... ugh!

Happy Holidays,

Jeff Bouton

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