English and Scientific names:

California Gull

Number of individuals: 




Specific Locality:

Rutherford Beach

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

Reporting observer and address:

Paul Conover

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Mac Myers

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Afternoon light from behind us, birds to our east in excellent light.    

Optical equipment: 

Nikon 20-60x Fieldscope III ED, variety of cameras. 

Distance to bird(s): 

Several hundred yards    

Duration of observation:

About 10 minutes


Gulf beach   

Behavior of bird: 

Loafing with large gull flock, preening.       


A medium-sized, “white-headed” gull intermediate in size between nearby Herring and Laughing Gulls.  Head seemed slightly small compared to body proportions.  Wings extended beyond tail.   


Mantle color slightly but noticeably darker, richer gray than Herring Gulls immediately adjacent to bird for much of the sighting.  The mantle color was nowhere near as dark as the Lesser Black-backeds in the same flock. 


Bill yellow, somewhat fine but with visible gonydeal angle, with black subterminal “ring” that was thinner than on adult Ring- billed Gull and which appeared to be thinnest on maxilla.  Red gonys spot merged with posterior of black markings on mandible.  Eyes dark.  Head streaked densely with fine, light to medium grayish streaks from about the eye spot rearward through crown and nape.  This streaking was somewhat subtle. 


Legs vivid yellow.


Exact pattern of wings not seen, as bird flew as we were repositioning.  However, as bird preened (as can be seen in photos), some white tips to black primaries were visible. 




Similar species:

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 


Identification aids:


This description is written from: 


Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: