English and Scientific names:

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)


Number of individuals: 

1 bird in 2nd winter plumage



Jefferson Parish


Specific Locality:

Elmer's Island (east end)


Date(s) when observed:

March 28, 2010


Time(s) of day when observed:  

2:30 PM


Reporting observer and address:

Jeffrey W. Harris

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

Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Jacob Cooper, Michael Hilferty, Roger Rodriguez, and Duane Huval

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

partly cloudy; good light


Optical equipment: 

8 x 42 binocular, Alpen, good condition and a spotting scope (25-60x zoom; 82 mm)


Distance to bird(s): 

from 150 yards to within 40 yards (in a car)


Duration of observation:

40 minutes



Open beach; bird was initially bathing with Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls in a large tidal pool; spooked by a dune buggy and retreated to the shoreline where it could be approached by car.

Behavior of bird: 

The bird was initially bathing in a pool.  It stood out because of the all white coloration in a group of about 60 other gulls using the same tidal pool.  We knew instantly that it was most likely a Glaucous Gull even at a great distance because the bird was so white.


At a great distance (150 yards), the bird looked like an all white gull that was similar in size (if not slightly larger) than the Herring Gulls that stood nearby.  At closer range a black-tipped pink bill was obvious, and the legs appeared flesh colored.  The iris of the eyes was pale.  The bird had almost no other markings on the dorsum -- it looked mostly white with a few light smudges.



It may have vocalized, but there were so many other gulls making noises that I could not discern a voice specific to this bird.

Similar species:

The only other all white gull of large size would be the Ivory Gull, which has black legs as an all-white adult. This bird clearly had pinkish legs and the body color was more of an off-white than a pure as snow ivory color.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

All of us took some form of photographic evidence.  I used a miniDV.  others used film and digital SLR cameras.


Previous experience with this species: 

I saw a similar Glaucous Gull on Grand Isle during the previous spring.


Identification aids:

Sibley's and Petersonís guides.

This description is written from: 


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



Date and time: 

April 28, 2010