Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feb 5--Penticton gulls (7.5 species)

This afternoon I was pleased to find that the strong southerlies we've been having seem to have blown in a new mix of gulls. There were over 500 gulls along Okanagan Beach here in Penticton. Most of them were HERRING GULLS, but there were also around 150 RING-BILLED GULLS, 50 GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS, and 25 CALIFORNIA GULLS. Most notable were an astonishing 18 THAYER'S GULLS (up from the 2 that have been around most of the winter- which includes a first-cycle bird). The other highlights included:

-2 MEW GULLS (both adults)
-2 Western-like hybrids including an adult that is about as Western as you can get without being pure-- its primaries are jet-black, its mantle dark-gray, and has a relatively large and bright bill. Only a few smudges around the head as well as the dark eye indicate that it's "tainted."

-Also 2 new GLAUCOUS GULLS (a 2nd-cycle and an adult). "New" since they are apparently different individuals than the 1st-cycle bird found by Laure Neish in January.

[Above: Good comparison of Thayer's and Herring Gulls]

[2nd-cycle Glaucous Gull with Herring Gulls]

[2nd-cycle (advanced aspect?) Glaucous Gull]
--at first I thought it might have some Herring Gull genes in it but now I doubt that

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