Monday, December 16, 2013

Herring and Thayer’s Gulls

The blog is a repost of one originally posted earlier today. I recieved a lot of good gull advice from various experts. Herring Gulls have variable plumages. I am confident that this first photo is a Herring Gull. The wing tips are extensively black. The second photo I thought might have been a Thayer’s Gull. But the general consensus is that, despite the reduced amount of black on the wing tips, it is also a Herring Gull. The wing tips just are not white enough for it to be a Thayer's.
On Sunday, 15 December 2013, Gerry Hoestra took me gull chasing to the west overflow of Black Dog Lake in Dakota County, just south of Greater Minneapolis. After taking a flurry of photos, we retired to our car since the temperature hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit. When we returned to the gulls, we immediately noticed a new bird, somewhat smaller than the Herring Gulls, and definitely paler. This Thayer's Gull sported only the tiniest black spots on its wing tips. The fifth primary is black-tipped, typical of Thayer’s and absent in similarly plumaged Iceland Gulls (fide Hendrickson).

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