[CT Birds] Glaucous Gull, Manchester , Vega Gull thoughts.

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Fri Feb 14 11:05:36 EST 2014

I was texted a photo of a first Cycle Glaucous Gull from the Manchester Landfill, seen by Paul Locke.     It was there yesterday and today.

Also, I'm thinking that the bird I saw last week at the Windsor Landfill may be a good candidate for a Vega Gull.  It is the first one featured in the album below:


Other tail-banded first cycle gulls from over the years are also included in that album.  I have noticed a few features in common for these birds.  They generally have bills that are fading at the base to horn color with the outer 1/3 dark.  They generally have internal mottling of their tertials, somewhat unusual in smithsonianus.  They always seem to have strongly and often neatly checkered greater coverts.  They often have uniform first winter scapulars of even age.  The generally are long-winged with marked primary extensions and often short legged, with a posture where the wingtips point downwards at rest.  An overall whiteish head but with streaking that is particularly concentrated around the eye, making a smudgy mark around the eye.  Strong barring on the undertail and uppertail covets, often contrasting with the rest of the bird's tones in the paleness of the base color.  They seem to come in two tones, one very light and gray overall another, darker with more rusty tones.  Streaks on the neck that blend into a darker belly, but with often a pale tone on the breast.  Size varies from small to quite large.

I occasionally see ones similar to the brownish morph, but that have all black tails.   These individuals almost always have strongly marked and uniform first winter scapulars, earning them the nickname "tiger gulls".

I have probably only seen about a dozen first cycle herring types with tail bands over the years and have managed to photograph most of them.


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308

Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org
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