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 first-cycle

3. Locality: Parish: Plaquemines

†† Specific Locality: end of McDermott Road in Venice

4. Date(s) when observed: 12 April 2014

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 2:40 PM

6. Reporting observer and address: Cameron Rutt, Baton Rouge, LA, 70806

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): None

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): None

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): The bird was in good afternoon light, as it was observed resting and flying to the east of my vantage point. Although, since it was in the mid-afternoon, the light was rather flat and harsh, especially for a bird that was gleaming white; when the sun was not hidden beneath the clouds, the bird basically glowed in the bright sunshine.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars, a Swarovski ST-80 scope with a 20-60x zoom eyepiece, and a Canon 60D with a 400mm f/5.6L

11. Distance to bird(s): 250-300 feet at the closest distance.

12. Duration of observation: I was present at the location for approximately 30 minutes, during which time the bird was often in view.

13. Habitat: Adjacent to the landfill, this area is mostly marred by human infrastructure in the immediate vicinity, the bulk of which I presume is connected to the oil industry. Circling farther away from the landfill, though, this is but a small footprint in a large coastal marsh ecosystem within the Mississippi River delta.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): Initially observed standing among a large group of roosting Herring Gulls, the bird took flight shortly thereafter, allowing examination of the birdís flight feathers. It flew off towards the landfill, but apparently doubled back as I spotted it farther to the northeast a few minutes later, roosting with another group of larids.

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): A large and strikingly white gull, larger than the adjacent Herring Gulls. It was obvious among the many drab and mottled immature Herring Gulls for its plumage, worn and bleached, was cleanly snow-white, without any visible marks whatsoever. The legs and most (two-thirds) of the bill were pale pink, but from the gonydeal angle to the tip of the bill was contrastingly black. The bill shape was rather long and parallel-edged, without much indication of swelling at the gonys. Overall, the bird looked heavy-set, without noticeably long wings. Head shape appeared rather flat and the iris was pale. In flight, it showcased all-white remiges and rectrices with substantial wear visible among the outermost primaries and a ratty tail.

16. Voice: Not heard vocalizing.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): A worn and bleached young Iceland Gull would be the most likely source for confusion. However, this species can be eliminated by its smaller size (distinctly smaller than a Herring Gull), less sharply bicolored bill with more black by age, as well as its different bill, head, and overall body structure. Iceland Gulls tend towards looking cute and petite, with a smaller bill, rounded head, and longer primary projection.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Yes. My own, which are attached.

19. Previous experience with this species: Yes. Iíve spent a substantial amount of time looking at and for white-winged gulls in the upper Midwest and Northeast.

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

a. at time of observation: None.

b. after observation: Sibley

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); __x__memory (and primarily from photos).

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

23. Date: 3 May 2014†† Time: 2:30 PM