LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

 

1. English and Scientific names:

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus

 

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

1, worn 1st cycle

3. Locality: Parish:Jefferson Parish

†† Specific Locality: Elmerís Island, LA

 

4. Date(s) when observed:

20 March 2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed:

11:55am Ė 12:05pm.Then briefly at about 12:45pm.

6. Reporting observer and address:

Erik I. Johnson

Lafayette, LA 70508

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

Melanie Driscoll

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

None known

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

Overcast, mid-day soft light

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):

10 x 42 Swarovski EL binoculars, good condition

Nikon D100 with Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED lens

11. Distance to bird(s):

About 40 feet at first, then with loafing group about 1/10 mile, then saw from entrance road at about ľ mile.

12. Duration of observation:

about 10 minutes total

13. Habitat:

Sandy beach and mudflat

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):

I had finished a plover survey for BTNEP and Audubonís Coastal Bird Survey program and managed to get a ride part of the way back with an LDWF employee from the east end of the island at Caminada Pass to the west.Conditions were absolutely miserable Ė cold, strong N winds (20-30 mph), and intermittent showers.As we were driving west at about 10 mph, through the front windshield we could see two large gulls, one a dark immature Herring Gull (L. argentatus), and the other similar in size and very distinctly white.Both were first seen as they flushed from about 100 feet away and the white gull landed right next to the truck, to our left (south), and the other gull I lost track of.So I never got a good size comparison of the two gulls.We opened the windows and I started photographing the white gull.The bird posed on the edge of the beach for about 1 minute, then flew off over the Gulf, circled back around, passed by us at 30 feet up about 50 feet to our east, then landed with a mixed group of gulls, terns, and pelicans on the backside of the beach about 1/10 mile away.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):

The bird was entirely white, including the wing tips, with a few brownish smudges on the belly and back.The eye was dark.The bill was pink with a distinct, well demarcated black tip (about ľ of the bill tip).The legs were distinctly pink.The photos revealed more brown smudging in the under wing coverts and the complete lack of any signs of dark markings on the primaries, which were quite worn.Based on the wear, eye color, bill markings, and general plumage I assume this is a 1st cycle bird.

16. Voice:

Not heard.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

Too big and bulky with a large heavy bill for an Iceland Gull.The distinct black tip to the bill in combination with no traces of dark in the primaries, should probably eliminate a leucistic Herring Gull, although Iím not entirely sure.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):

Photos by me.

19. Previous experience with this species:

Essentially none.

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation: None.

b. after observation: Various web pages, Gulls of NA (Howell), Sibley Guide to NA Birds.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date: 21 March 2013 to LAbird); __X__memory.

 

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:

With gulls, I hate to be 100% positive.Iím particularly uncertain what might qualify as a leucistic Herring Gull, but this sure seems to be a good candidate for Glaucous based on size, bill color, and white white primaries.

23. Date: 26 March 2013 Time: 2:00pm