Saturday, February 28, 2009

Slaty-backed Gull in Davis, CA!

Slaty-backed Gull

On Friday, February 27, Todd Easterla and John Sterling reported a SLATY-BACKED GULL at the Davis Oxidation Ponds. This year has been fantastic for gulls at this site and the adjacent Yolo County Dump. As luck would have it I had Saturday off and headed over as soon as I was able. After scanning the available gull groups and finding 2 first winter GLAUCOUS GULLS, several THAYER'S, GLAUCOUS-WINGED, HERRING, CALIFORNIA, and RING-BILLED GULLS (and an apparent "KUMLIEN'S" GULL) someone had alerted another birder that they had refound the Slaty-backed in a field about a mile away.

I arrived to a decent sized flock of gulls and almost immediately came across a dark backed gull in front of all the others. My excitement quickly subsided as I realized I was looking at an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and not the Slaty-backed. This is only the second Lesser Black-backed I've seen in California and was still excited to see it but I thought it was the bird people were calling the Slaty-backed. Soon, tough, I was on the SLATY-BACKED GULL and had moderate looks at quite a distance. The following digiscoped shots were all I could get.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Slaty-backed Gull

Slaty-backed Gull

"Kumlien's" Gull? Comments welcome on this one! The primaries look good and the tertials are ok but the bill seems too big to me. What do you think?

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