[CT Birds] Long beach Iceland

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 18:10:28 EST 2014


I remember reviewing photos of this bird last winter without seeing it in
the field. The array of images from various photographers left me
uncomfortable putting a name to it. All I could say for certain was that it
was certainly NOT a Glaucous Gull which was also being mentioned at the
time. Gulls can be very tricky, and I tend to be more conservative than
most when it comes to identifying some of them from photos alone. Field
experience helps. A combination of photos and field experience are best.

Fast forward to this year. I first saw some images of this bird, now in its
second winter, it looked pretty much like an Iceland Gull, but held off
until I went to see the bird. I saw and studied it for the first time on
12/26/13, and both in gestalt and plumage the bird looked bang-on for a
second winter "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull. The only thing about the bird that
did not scream typical Iceland Gull to me was its size - about Herring Gull
size. However male "Kumlien's" Gulls can be quite large. A quick check of
Howell & Dunn puts the American Herring Gull size range at 22-26.3 inches
versus 19-24.5 inches for "Kumlien's" Gull. Therefore, the largest (male)
"Kumlien's" Gulls will sit right in the average size range of our Herring
Gulls.

Yes, gulls are capable of crazy things. They do hybridize, especially the
large white-headed gulls. Is it possible that this bird has some DNA of
some other species? Sure, that's possible. But that's possible with pretty
much every single large gull we see. Based on this information, I don't
really see a reason to talk about a hybrid in regards to this bird since,
IMO, literally everything falls within known range of "Kumlien's" Iceland
Gull. I think that is the point many people are trying to make. If someone
can point out something about this bird that is truly at odds with it being
an Iceland Gull, we would be very interested to hear.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT
www.shorebirder.com


On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:37 PM, <kmueller at ntplx.net> wrote:

>
> Wow, this Gull seems to be getting quite a bit of attention, and
> deceivingly so!. If you haven't seen it, you should go down to Long Beach
> and enjoy it; it is a lovely Gull. I first became interested in this Gull
> last March when Donna Caporaso found it. She sent me a picture of the Gull
> and I recognized that this Gull was "different". I went down to Long Beach
> a few days later in the afternoon after one of those horrendous storms we
> had. I found the Gull on the beach way down beyond the jetty at the west
> end of the parking lot. I was instantly captivated by this Gull, and spent
> many hours observing it in March and April until it left. When it showed up
> again last month I recognized it immediately, now a 2nd cycle.
>
> Today was the eighth visit this Dec. and Jan. I had to Long Beach studying
> this Gull. In total I have spent well over 60 hours studying this one Gull
> up close focusing very closely on its specific overall form and structure
> and most importantly its Gestalt.....which is what I have trained myself to
> do for nearly 40 years for my art. I have a long list of field observations
> (and nearly 20,000 pictures) for this Gull that makes me conclude that it
> "possibly/probably" has features and influences from two species of Gulls.
> This is why I (and a list of others) feel that it is a "possible" hybrid
> Gull with a larger influence being Kumlien's Gull. For me, avian form and
> function, and species traits are the backbone to my work This was the basis
> for the book I wrote called Waterfowl Concepts...Form and Function.
>
> So if this Gull is a Kumlien's Gull, that's great! But I have to
> respectfully disagree that this Gull can only be a "classic example" of a
> Kumlien's Gull (which is a hybrid BTW). In my opinion it has many
> characteristics that offer a possibility of it being a "possible" hybrid.
>
> There are no guide lines or charts that identify what hybrids should look
> like. Hybridization may be more common than recognized because hybrids may
> look similar to the parent species and not be recognized as hybrids. When I
> raised wild waterfowl, hybrids happened all the time. Often the fledglings
> looked obvious what the parent species were, other times (an often in the
> same clutch) they would only have a hint of the parent species or sometimes
> not at all.
>
> In the end, its just an opinion.....and my opinion is that it is a lovely
> and interesting Gull, that is quite unique. But I still believe it is a
> "possible" hybrid.
>
> Enjoy the Gull!
>
> Keith Mueller
>
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>
> Quoting Greg Hanisek <ghanisek at rep-am.com>:
>
>  I happened to see this gull for the first time a couple days ago, and I'd
>>  have to agree with Julian that I don't see any reason to call it anything
>> but kumlieni, give the variablity of that taxon. As a quick note for the
>> many newer birders and new participants on this list, it's fine to call
>> this an Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides. Essentially, based on current
>> taxonomy, all Iceland Gulls seen in our area are of the North American
>> subspecies - Larus glaucoides kumleini (aka "Kumlien's" Gull, also an
>> acceptable common name), breeding in eastern Arctic Canada.  The Old World
>> subspecies of Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides glaucoides, has never been
>> documented in CT and has only rarely been recorded in North America.  It
>> breeds in Greenland and winters in Europe. The NA birds (L. g. kumlieni)
>> show varying amounts of gray in the wingtips (as does the Long Beach bird),
>> while L. g. glaucoides has pure white wing tips.
>>
>> Greg Hanisek
>> Waterbury
>>     _____
>>
>>
>> From: julian hough [mailto:jrhough1 at snet.net]
>> To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org [mailto:ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org]
>> Sent: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 13:13:06 -0500
>> Subject: [CT Birds] Long beach Iceland
>>
>> Just to reitorate to others on the list that may not be aware or be
>> confused, that the gull that has been at Long Beach - and labelled
>> previously by some as a "hybrid" or Glaucous Gull for the past two years
>> is, on plumage, a straightforward 2nd-cycle Iceland Gull, albeit a large
>> one. It is perhaps misleading, at least in my opinion, to continue to refer
>> to this bird as a hybrid.
>>
>>
>> Julian Hough
>> New Haven, CT 06519
>> www.naturescapeimages.wordpress.com
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA)
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>>
>>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut.
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