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Herring Gull or Vega Gull or just an Oly Gull (1 Viewer)

SnoHoCo

Member
United States
I was birding around Semiahmoo Spit last weekend (western Washington, close to the Canadian border). Like many of you do, I was photographing birds for later positive ID. I took a picture of this gull, which I assumed was our usual Olympic Gull, a hybrid of GWGU and WEGU. The Olympic Gull is the most common large Larus gull seen around Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. I posted it to iNaturalist and one person suggested it was a Herring Gull based on the significant head and neck streakiness and the darker wingtips. Friends suggested it could be a Vega Gull. Soliciting opinions here. Thanks so much! https://flic.kr/p/2n3FoFv
 

Martin Bell

Well-known member
Slaty-backed Gull? I would suggest too dark for Herring/Vega. Large white tertial crescent and just a hint of bright pink legs look better fit for Slaty-backed.
 

SnoHoCo

Member
United States
Slaty-backed Gull? I would suggest too dark for Herring/Vega. Large white tertial crescent and just a hint of bright pink legs look better fit for Slaty-backed.
Thank you! Slaty-backed seems the better fit, especially the large white tertial crescent. Slaty-backed even less common here than Herring, as I look on eBird. The head and neck streaking looks so heavy, though.
 

HH75

Well-known member
Ireland
I really don't buy this as a Slaty-backed Gull, or any of the other possible vagrant contenders mentioned. I haven't seen an 'Olympic Gull', but the head structure, dark iris etc seem very reminiscent of Glaucous-winged Gull, plus the upperparts and primaries are too dark for that species. My only question, then, would be whether or not the head streaking could be shown by something from within that particular hybrid combination?
 

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