Iceland Gull 4/2

Michael G. Donahue mgd at u.washington.edu
Sun Apr 2 17:14:33 PDT 2000


This morning I was able to observe and photograph a first winter ICELAND GULL at the rendering plant in Tacoma, off of Lincoln Avenue.

In my post several weeks ago on the subject of Thayer's and Iceland gulls, I commented on the varied plumages of Thayer's I've been seeing recently.  The  individual I saw this morning had much more white in the plumage than any of the Thayer's I've seen, and it's features were consistent with those of the Kumlien's race of Iceland gull.  
The greater wing coverts were all white, with a pale brown spot in the middle.  The remaining wing coverts and scapulars were broadly edged in white.  The tertials, which are often cited as a feature to distinguish between the two species were snowy white, with just a little bit of brown marbling in them.  
The primaries were very pale brown on the outer webs, and white on the inner webs.  In structure, this bird was round headed, long winged and slim billed as is typical of Thayer's and Iceland gull. It was larger than a Thayer's and slightly smaller than a herring gull.  I took several photographs of these three species standing together.

Gull numbers are way down.  There were about 30 at the rendering plant the 90 minutes I spent there this morning, almost all glaucous-winged and glaucous-winged x western, but there were several western gulls and 2 first winter Thayer's and 2 first winter herring gulls.

Mike Donahue
Seattle




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