Date: 2/4/19 3:20 pm From: Don Gorney <in-bird-l...> Subject: Re: [IN-BIRD-L] Herring or GBB Gull at Lake Claire?
Gull ID can be complex and takes a lot of experience. A written description is insufficient evidence (for eBird or a state record comm) in most instances when dealing with a rarity.
Great Black-backed Gull is very rare away from the lakefront and adjacent counties with dumps. Lesser Black-backed Gull is the expected Black-backed Gull when one shown up at inland reservoirs. (I personally have never seen an inland Great Black-backed Gull in Indiana).
Herring Gulls are extremely variable in first year plumage ranging from ghostly pale to extremely dark. Individual gulls of a species can vary in size by about 25%. So, within a flock of Herrings (or any other species), it's possible to see runts and large birds.
First year Great Black-backed has a distinctive black and white checkerboard pattern. There is not a lot of what I consider brown on them.
Even very experienced birders can have trouble providing sufficient written details for gulls. It takes experience to know the difference in Bill shape and sizes, head shape, and the minutiae of wing and tail feather details among the expected gulls of a region to make an ID.
Photos are very valuable when an odd looking Gull shows up.
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On Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 5:53 PM, Andrew Wolfe<jawwolfe...> wrote: Hi. I'm no gull expert but after studying my Sibley guide I'm questioning my call that this immature gull at Lake Claire was Herring. It was extremely large compared to the RBB and overall showed three colors: whiter head and neck, browner wings and back, and black wing tips. Only saw it sitting on the ice. First and second year Herring gull seems to have a more brownish head and neck. I'll try to photo it tomorrow if it is sill there. Given my description, is there enough to make the call either way? Thanks.
Saw my first Herring Gull on Lake Claire/Huntington Co. Of course I didn't have my phone so no pics. See desc. below. Was trying to rule out GBB gull, but I"m pretty sure it didn't have dark enough wings, more dark grey speckled.
Andrew WolfeHuntington County, IN
Lake Claire Huntington, Huntington, Indiana, US
Feb 4, 2019 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM
Comments: cloudy warm ice melting on lake some open water
Canada Goose 25
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 1 50% larger than adjacent RB gull, black wing tips, white neck and gray/black speckled wings. first year?