The large first-cycle gull that has been at Sparks Marina from time to
time since mid-November, which has generated considerable discussion on
identification, was present again today. It has molted in a number of
new scapulars and back feathers since I last saw (and photographed) it.
In direct comparison to many nearby California Gulls, I thought the
color of these new feathers was pretty similar to the Californias. I
don't know enough about molt in first-cycle large gulls to say just what
these new feathers are, but if they would be expected to show adult-like
coloration, then I think the photos I took today would provide some
argument against Slaty-back. (Although there's been a lot of discussion
on other lists lately about just how pale a pure Slaty-back can be, so
perhaps this doesn't rule out the species. But if the feathers had been
a lot darker, I might well have been persuaded over to the Slaty-back
I have placed nine photos from today on my website. Go to:
Then select "ID Issues/Rarities" from the menu across the top.
From that page, the first entry is the one to look at. It contains
thirteen photos from 11/19/13 followed by the nine new ones from today.
email: Martin (...AT...) SierraBirdbum.com
Photo website: http://SierraBirdbum.com