English and Scientific names:

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)

Number of individuals: 

One individual in first Winter plumage

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

(Lafourche Parish)

Specific Locality:

On Fourchon Beach at Belle Pass

Date(s) when observed:


31 March 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:  

From 11:15 pm until 11:45 pm and from 12:50 pm until 1:00 pm

Reporting observer and address:

R. Martin Guidry

Baton Rouge, LA  70817

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



Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

None known to observer

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

Sun was moderately bright with some clouds.  Saw bird both to the east and to the west of me as it flew behind me.  Initially gull was between observer and the sun, but after it flew sun was behind observer and gull was in front of observer.

Optical equipment: 

Pentax 10x42 binoculars, excellent condition

Swarovski 80mm ATS HD Angled spotting scope, excellent condition

Distance to bird(s): 

From twenty yards to seventy-five yards distance from the gull during the observation period

Duration of observation:

Intially observed the gull for approximately 30 minutes then walked back to my car for camera.  Drove back to Belle Pass in my car and took photographs and observed the gull for another ten minutes.


Gull was on the beach about 20 feet from the water line most of the time and for a short time was on rocks just east of the pass.

Behavior of bird: 

Gull was standing on beach near small flock of Herring Gulls most of the time.  It did not mingle with the Herring Gulls during observaton period.  It flew briefly about 100 yards before landing again on the beach.  It also flew once onto some rocks near Belle Pass for a short time.  Observer did not stress gull during observation period except briefly when gull flew on his approach.  Gull was initially seen at a distance as it stood just outside a small flock of Herring Gulls.  Observer slowly approached the flock to obtain a better view.



Saw an overall white gull that had a couple of small areas of tan on its back.  It was slightly larger than nearby Herring Gulls.  The bill was two-toned with a black tip on a pink bill.  The division between the black and pink of the bill was sharp.  The legs were pink.  It had a dark eye.  When the gull flew it had totally white wings including the wing tips.  At rest the wings extended slightly beyond the tail.  The gull appeared to have a bulkier body than the nearby Herring Gulls.



The gull did not vocalize during the observation period.

Similar species:

The slightly larger size than Herring Gull, overall white coloration at rest and in flight, pink legs and pink bill with black tip identify this as a first Winter Glaucous Gull compared to other similar gulls as Iceland Gull which has a yellow bill with black tip, Thayer’s Gull which has a yellow bill with black tip and grayer plumage; Ivory Gull which has a black bill with yellow tip and black legs and Glaucous-winged Gull which has a yellow or a black bill depending on age and grayer or browner plumage depending on age.  Other gulls as Herring Gull are darker plumaged than Glaucous Gull.



Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photographs by R. Martin Guidry are attached.




Previous experience with this species: 

Seen once previously in Cameron Parish, LA.

Identification aids:

at time of observation: National Geographic “Field Guide to Birds of North America”, fifth edition


after observation: National Geographic “Field Guide to Birds of North America”, fifth edition


This description is written from: 

Written from notes taken during the time of observation

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


I am confident of my identification based on the plumage, size and leg and bill coloration.



Martin Guidry

Date and time: 

1 April 2008  10:15 pm