Documentation of Iceland Gull

Observer Information

Reporter:  Steven Mlodinow  530 Peregrine Circle,   Longmont, CO  80504-8806
Other Observers:  none

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Iceland Gull
First Date/Time:  10/18/2016 11:13:00 AM
Last Date/Time:  10/18/2016 11:23:00 AM
Duration (total time in view):  10 minutes, approx
County:  Adams
Specific Location:  Barr Lake State Park
Number:  1
Age:  Immature
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Non-breeding

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Swarovski 80mm scope with 25-50x eyepiece
Distance:  200 m
Light:  Superb. Temps about 55, no heat shimmer, modest winds, sun mostly to back

Description of the Bird

Slim, long-winged pale gull nearer in size to nearby CAGU than nearby HERG. Monotone in color: a pale biscuit color that is paler than any THGU I've seen in Oct-Dec. About as light as dry sand behind it (but not color: more brown and less yellow in hue). Watched the bird vie for a dead fish with an adult Cal Gull and an ad and juv Herring Gull for several minutes. Then it flew over lake, circling around several times giving excellent looks at upper wings, tail, etc -- and underwing. Landed in water for a minute or so, then flew back to yonder dead fish.

Head a tad paler than body, with transition gradual. No darker color visible on wings (or elsewhere in plumage) when perched. In flight essentially equally monotone with no tail band, no secondary bar. Outermost primary or two, in part, faintly dusky. Bill small and black. Viewed for 10+ minutes. The upperwing primary pattern was similar to (4th pic; juv in flight, Nov, Massachusetts), noting that the Barr Lake bird was much paler than in that bird. The underwing was silvery without dark markings. 

Similar Species Discussion

Thayer's Gull - very similar, but should show distinct tail band and darkish outer primaries in flight (distinctly darker than seen on this bird) at this time of year (worn birds in Jan-Mar can be quite pale on outer primaries). Bird on small side for THGU and overall color paler than I believe a THGU should be at this season. 

The size, uniform palldiness and dark bill really eliminates all other contenders.

Resources Used

None, though I did search for pics of juv ICGU with similar upperwing pattern to aid in my description of upperwing

Previous Experience

Moderate with Iceland Gull, extensive with Thayer's and apparent mutts (THGU x ICGU or variants of either species). Note that Washington has 2-3 recent accepted October records of Iceland Gull, breaking with that state's long-term pattern of Dec-Mar sightings of this species.


Notes made DURING observation

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

10/19/2016 2:01:00 PM

Location Map

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