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just a Great Black-backed Gull? (1 Viewer)

tom baxter

Well-known member
As far as I can tell it looks like a normal 2nd cy GBBG plumage-wise, but it was smaller than nearby Herring Gulls. At a glance from afar I was pretty convinced it was a LBBG but when I got closer I realized it was not.
 

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tom baxter

Well-known member
What did you convince it was not a LBBG? 2nd cycle larus fuscus it is :)

I don't think I have ever seen a 1st or 2nd cy LBBG with no brown on the neck, thats one of the more noticable ID points that I am used to seeing on LBBG. I normally see a dozen or sometimes even multiple dozens of LBBG at the location of this photo, Stone Harbor Pt, NJ. Also the wings have a more scaly look with pale markings that I associate with 1st and 2nd cy GBBG. I did notice that it was behaving like a LBBG, ie. feeding in the surf in water almost as deep as its belly which did have me wondering if it was a LBBG. I still find this bird very unusual.

Looks in between but to me it looks more like the 2nd cy GBBGs here than the 2nd cy LBBGs here other than the bill color.
 
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lou salomon

the birdonist
first of all: notice the long primary projection - no other large gull has such long wings.
first summer LBBG (june to first half of august) do have whitish heads, feathers are bleached like in other large gull taxa. and the greater coverts pattern you talk of is that of 2nd generation ones, which resemble a bit GBBG. nothing unusual here ;)
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
first of all: notice the long primary projection - no other large gull has such long wings.
first summer LBBG (june to first half of august) do have whitish heads, feathers are bleached like in other large gull taxa. and the greater coverts pattern you talk of is that of 2nd generation ones, which resemble a bit GBBG. nothing unusual here ;)

LBBG it is, I do however have to insist that the complete absence of brown streaks on the neck, chest and/or flanks is something unusual about it. I see hundreds of LBBG every year and among 2nd cy LBBG I am pretty certain this is extremely unusual at least in my local patch. I also don’t see any pictures of them like that on the gull research page. I found one picture of one that is close but still shows some brown streaks, and that one is from Finland, not sure whether that could have anything to do with it.

I would like to add that I greatly appreciate your expertise Lou, you have actually taught me a decent bit of the little knowledge I have about gulls over the years of following this forum. This time my experience had me confused with this bird for a real reason unless I’m just missing something. Advanced body molt perhaps?
 
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lou salomon

the birdonist
Advanced body molt perhaps?

the opposite, tom. body and head had some of these marks but not as extensive as in winter. head and body have moulted at least one time after juvenile plumage and their first alternate look (after moult in spring) would be whitish, less streaky as in 2nd basic plumage which this bird is attempting now - and soon you will see a lot of streaks on it, in about 3weeks ;) but this bird is late with moulting its head o:D
 
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