[CT Birds] Jury still out on the possible Thayers

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Fri Feb 17 19:55:02 EST 2012

It was a great day at the Windsor landfill in any case.  There were at least 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (1 subadult, 2 adults, 3+ first year birds), one first year Iceland Gull, at least one very white Glaucous Gull, going with 2nd cycle, but they can be tough to age.   

I think Steve and I were on different birds for the adult Thayer's-type so no photos of that bird.   It looked like a typical Thayer's primary pattern in my looks, but Iceland Gulls can be very dark at times.   Also, with the first cycle possible Thayer's I am leaning towards Thayer's still.  Jim's video shows very silvery and translucent underwings and I don't see any death knells for Thayer's in Steve's photo.   I could be convinced that it isn't a Thayer's though and I'm not used to such dark examples.   

Also at least one candidate European Herring Gull, first cycle.   It had uniform 1st winter feathers in scapulars and mantle, very jet black bill, heavily checkered coverts and perhaps mottled tertials.  I have photos of one bird that might fit the bill, but it was seen about 1/2 hour later.  One fuzzy in flight photo indicated that it might have a banded tail.   Finally, one very dark funky first cycle bird, that I'm not entirely convinced isn't just a dark, runty smithsonianus Herring Gull.    Some views it looks like a Lesser, some like Herring and some Thayer'sish.  

In any case, there were a ton of gulls there today and the landfill is open tomorrow and Monday in case anyone else wants to go fishing for gulls for the GBBC.  Photos of today's birds can be found towards the end of the folder here, from the Glaucous Gull on:


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x305
or 203-267-6732 x308
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org
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