In all of my excitement about the possible Slaty-backed Gull and adult Thayer's Gull, I forgot to post another gull that I found on Monday morning, 3/15. I also found this odd white-winged gull at the landfill. 

The bird is a 1st cycle white-winged gull with a largely dark bill. It has short, hot pink legs, heavy body and medium primary projection. It was slightly smaller than the Herring Gulls nearby. At first I thought that it was a Kumlien's (Iceland) Gull, but it seemed too big and the bill too big for Kumlien's and it had a too distinct secondary bar; it is too small and wrong bill size and color for Glaucous. I thought possibly Nelson's Gull (a hybrid between a Glaucous and Herring Gull), but it is an odd bill color for a Nelson's. In addition, it was slightly smaller than the nearby Herring Gulls and it would need to be as large or larger than a Herring Gull for that combination. 

Finally, after looking at the bird for a while, I came to the conclusion that it is a very pale, bleached out Thayer's Gull. Probably the most important characteristic is that it has a distinct dark secondary bar. This is an important mark for Thayer's and is a good indicator of it not being an Iceland (Kumlien's) Gull.  The light
brown in the primaries looks about right. The tail also seems correct for a bleached out Thayer's Gull.

Mitchell Harris found this bird later this week and also thought that it was a Thayer's Gull.

I sent out photos of this bird and I did get a nice response from Bruce Mactavish in Newfoundland:

I think there is a good possibility this is a Thayer's.  Late winter
bleached Kumlien's Gulls are very unlikely to show a hint of secondary
bar, especially since they have a very light bar at best even in fresh
plumage.  The distinct tail band on such a bleached bird is also a good
indication of what was probably a nice looking Thayer's Gull a couple months

Such a shame that the gull season is almost over!


Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet

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