LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     

1. English and Scientific names: Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 1 first cycle individual Ėvery worn/ bleached

3. Locality: Parish:_______Plaquemines_____________________________________

†† Specific Locality: __________Venice Ė Venice Boat Harbor Dr. _____________________________________

4. Date(s) when observed: 9 March 2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 11:05 AM

6. Reporting observer and address: Tom Johnson, Hummelstown, PA 17036

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Glen Davis, Sam Galick, Doug Gochfeld

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

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Bright overcast sky; we were ~30 meters away from the bird.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Naked eye! Then 7x & 8x binoculars, 20-60x scopes, and cameras.

11. Distance to bird(s): 30 meters when the bird was standing; then it flew within 15 meters before disappearing toward the landfill.

12. Duration of observation: 5-10 minutes.

13. Habitat: small muddy island in the water with dead trees nearby; adjacent to Venice Marina

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation: Standing with Herring Gulls; then flying away with Herring Gulls. The bird carried itself in a normal manner and appeared to be healthy.

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):

 

This description is slightly modified from the comments in my eBird checklist (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13342455) for the purposes of clarification.

 

Very white gull, obviously bleached with some feather erosion, especially noticeable at tips of outer primaries; smaller and slimmer than adjacent immature Herring Gulls, but larger and more robust than Ring-billed Gull; the slim bill lacked a strong gonydeal angle and was dull pink at the base with a blackish tip (the border between black and pink was blurry); rounded head; dark irides; pink legs; some light brownish pigment was evident in the tail, and the tail showed a well-marbled effect and lacked a solid dark band (such as would be shown by a Thayer's Gull); underwing coverts and lesser upperwing coverts showed light brown barring, and the axillaries showed thin brownish bars. The primaries were white, and showed areas where the tips had been eroded away.

 

I wonít discuss the subspecies ID other than to say that it was probably too bleached to accurately attempt subspecies ID, though nothing is inconsistent with the expected kumlieni despite the apparent lack of pigment in the primary tips (not surprising given the condition of these feathers).

 

eBird checklist detailing this bird and other species present: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13342455

16. Voice: Not heard.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): Thayerís Gulls usually donít bleach out to be this white, but when they do, they still usually show a solid tail band and a stouter bill.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Photos taken by Tom Johnson, Sam Galick, Doug Gochfeld

19. Previous experience with this species: I have seen >1,000 Iceland Gulls in North America, primarily in the northeastern US but also west to the Great Plains and north to Churchill, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Iíve also spent much time studying variation in Thayerís Gulls on the West Coast, the Great Lakes, in a vagrant context on the East Coast, and on migration in Alaska and Churchill, Manitoba.

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification): None.

21. This description is written from: notes made during the observation and memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification?YES, as positive as I can be with a large gull that isnít in pristine feather condition. There isnít anything that points away from an Iceland Gull identification with this individual.

23. Date:__9 March 2013________Time:_______7:30 PM