[CT Birds] Finding the Thayer's

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Fri Dec 9 21:06:12 EST 2011

As noted in a quick post this a.m., the 1st-cycle Thayer's Gull found earlier this week by gullmeister Nick Bonomo (a couple Thayer's, a Slaty-backed and a Mew (Common) Gull in CT aren't too shabby) was present this morning at the Windsor-Bloomfield landfill. About 2000 gulls were present even though no garbage came in while we were there. I'd like to think this bodes well for the Thayer's still being there tomorrow. It seems to be using this site as its main day-time hangout.

Finding this bird among many first-cycle Herring Gulls requires patience, and until it's found most of an observer's efforts will center on convincing him of herself that a promising-look Herring Gull is in fact just that. In carefully perusing the birds on the ground, I would concentrate on head shape (smaller and rounder than virtually every Herring Gull there with an essentially all-black bill that is smaller than the bills of the majority of the Herrings). It was the bird's head that initially caught my attention while it was tucked in among a bunch of Herrings with little else showing. The photos Nick posted provide an excellent reference on everything to look for perched and in flight, but it still can be a bit overwhelming while looking through all the Herrings. I'd just suggest the head as a good place to start. The bird also has a smudgy dark area at and behind the eye, but beware Herring Gull's showing the same. You want to get the smudge in combination with other characters on a properly shaped head.

Greg Hanisek

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