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Bird ID - Bluffers Park, Toronto, ON (1 Viewer)

bicchawla

Well-known member
Canada
These were taken this past Sunday, Feb 4 at Bluffers Park in Toronto. Apologies for picture quality.

Hoping for some help but I believe these are:

1. Redhead and Greater Scaup
2. Red-breasted Merganser
3. Common Goldeneye
4. Herring Gull

Thank you!
 

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Why shouldn't that gull not be an American Herring Gull? Most Kumlien's have dark irides, this one doesn't. Without a proper view on primary pattern it really is not safe to call it an Iceland Gull. Bill shape and colouring is off for Iceland too. Primaries look to have black instead of dark grey (like in most Kumlien's). To me it looks like a small female smithsonianus. Their primary pattern (since this has been used to ID it as Kumlien's Iceland), can be extremely variable up to individuals with hardly any black in wingtip (in that case being of northern type, where influence from Glaucous Gull can be considered).
 
Why shouldn't that gull not be an American Herring Gull? Most Kumlien's have dark irides, this one doesn't. Without a proper view on primary pattern it really is not safe to call it an Iceland Gull. Bill shape and colouring is off for Iceland too. Primaries look to have black instead of dark grey (like in most Kumlien's). To me it looks like a small female smithsonianus. Their primary pattern (since this has been used to ID it as Kumlien's Iceland), can be extremely variable up to individuals with hardly any black in wingtip (in that case being of northern type, where influence from Glaucous Gull can be considered).
It looks perfect for kumliens in my opinion. Your point about irides confuses me because I see dark irides pretty clearly personally. Also the head shape is round, the bill rather dainty, and of course from what can be seen the primaries are much whiter than I have ever seen in even a “northern” herring gull. I’ve never been to Canada, so can’t say how white they get up there, but I’d be pretty surprised if it is not rare for them to have mostly white primaries on dorsal side. In my experience with northern herring gulls, the white is usually best seen on the underside of the primaries. It’s not particularly rare for Kumliens to have black in the primaries as opposed to gray. Such as this example that seems darker than the bird in OP: Kumliens. Primaries aside, I think it looks more like an Iceland Gull to me.
 
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Nope - clearly pale. I can only guess that you're not looking closely enough and/or not allowing for the photo's underexposure (no offence to you or to the OP).
I zoom all the way in and see the iris isn’t completely dark, but overall it is dark and completely normal for Iceland gull.

After I zoom in on the eye very close, the bird seems to have a pale iris indeed. On the other hand, most of eBird's photos of Iceland Gull have pale irides as well. I'm confused.
I also agree with this. I only am conforming to the verbiage proposed by Lou. Typically i would not use eye color to differentiate a herring gull from an Iceland gull because it’s seems quite variable.
 
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the iris isn’t completely dark, but overall it is dark
I'm afraid I don't know what to make of this. If you're suggesting you can differentiate different parts of the iris then you can now suddenly see it better than I can. The ring that comprises the iris in this photo is truly tiny, so personally I find such a differentiation impossible. (I assume you are discounting the pupil as distinct from the iris.)
 
I've had a better look myself, and it seems that (consistently with what I see in eBird's photos) Tom Baxter meant a darkish, yet not blackish dark iris (sorry for the lay terminology I'm trying to use here).
 
I'm afraid I don't know what to make of this. If you're suggesting you can differentiate different parts of the iris then you can now suddenly see it better than I can. The ring that comprises the iris in this photo is truly tiny, so personally I find such a differentiation impossible. (I assume you are discounting the pupil as distinct from the iris.)
I get what you mean. No offense meant, but you are always precise to a tee with semantics. I on the other hand use words to match others and try to speak using the same language as others. Both have their pros and cons in my opinion. I don’t mind refining my language to try to communicate with you more effectively and you force me to learn to speak more accurately/precisely.

In this case, I use the word “dark” only because that was the verbiage proposed by Lou. Personally, I don’t think I would ever use that word to describe the irides of Iceland gulls because they typically have pale irides. Lou is more of an expert on gulls than I am, so for him to seemingly suggest the opposite confuses me. However, “dark” is a comparison rather than a color. If he said “black” then I would vehemently disagree. Instead, I interpret his use of the word to mean dark in comparison to a herring gull. I would agree that Iceland gulls irides are usually darker than herring gulls, which is accentuated by the dark orbital of Iceland gulls. Regardless of whether we call the irides of this bird dark, or pale, is outside of my ultimate point that the honey comb color irides of this bird seem completely normal for Iceland Gull to me based on my field experience as well as a quick online photo check and field guide check (corroborated by opus-editor - “all knowing idiot”). Further; the apparently round head shape, wing color and bill shape/size seem better for Iceland than herring to me. I find the “northern” herring gull reference in regards to the primarily color to be unconvincing as well as I described earlier. Lou has taught me a lot and proven me wrong many times over the years, so i say all of this with respect where it is due. However, I need a strong argument to overturn my own analysis here. I suspect that his opinion goes deeper, but I don’t see it the same way currently.
 
I think the gull does look better for Iceland.

I like the bill shape, and the greenish-yellow base to it; also head shape.

But I don't have very much experience with either.
 

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