[Tweeters] Possible Third-year Black-tailed Gull at Oak Bay Co Park
hrudkajm at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 15 16:00:26 PDT 2009
Stopped at Oak Bay Co Park for lunch today around 11:45am. An odd gull with a prominent black sub-terminal band caught my eye and I brought it to my friend's attention. She's been birding the upper midwest for many years and was not familiar with the bird either. For the next 20 minutes or so we watched it and pored over three field guides (Sibley's, Kaufmann's and NatGeo).
Described: slightly smaller than the adjacent mew gulls, wide (about 2 inches) black sub-terminal band on tail with clean white terminal band. Medium gray wings shading to black at the ends with very small dot of white on last couple primary feathers. Wings lighter gray than western gulls in area but not lighter that the mews. No markings on upper wings. Belly was all white. Underwings were lighter than the upperwings and shaded to darker gray at the tips with no windows or other markings. Grayish-tan streaking on head, most of face and down to upper chest (forming bib shape). Bill was grayish with a hint of yellow next to face and shaded midway to black with a tiny bit of red at the tip. Legs were yellowish-gray and short comparatively (to other gulls in area). In flight the leading edge of the wings showed a smudge of darker gray at the first joint (elbow?). No eyebrow visible when at rest as it was on the farther side of the tidal pond when at rest. Bird was very aggressive to other gulls on the water and in the air and would chase them around for several seconds before resettling on the water. It did this several times and spent more time chasing than resting. An eagle came in and flushed everything in the pond and the gull gave chase after the eagle that was chasing a mew gull. This gull then dive bombed the eagle at least five times after the eagle perched in a tree above the pond. Our gull then flew off to the NNE toward Indian Island.
After getting back to Kitsap County we headed to Barnes & Nobles in Silverdale to look for a gull ID book. The only thing we could find even close was the third cycle black-tailed gull. We ruled out first winter mew gull due to the lack of terminal white band and the clean white belly which is spotted in the mew gull.
Could this be an irruptive year for black-tailed gulls?
hrudkajm at hotmail.com
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