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> From: David Seibel <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wed Sep 22, 2004  2:01:38 AM US/Central
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [KSBIRD-L] Smithville Lake (Missouri) gull
> Reply-To: David Seibel <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Just a quick update on the likely identity of the dark-backed gull, for
> those who have been following the saga:
>
> Kyle Gerstner and I managed to find the bird at sunrise on Tuesday
> morning,
> 21 September, and approach to within 35 feet of it for some excellent
> views
> and, more importantly, clear photos.  We specifically tried to get
> shots
> that would show characters needed to distinguish the bird from the
> several
> similar species.  Thanks to unusually cooperative weather and bird,
> Kyle
> succeeded in doing so beyond either of our most optimistic hopes.  In
> case
> you haven't already seen them, Kyle posted a few of his photos here:
> <http://www.lightshooter.net/Webpages/Gull%20page/HTML/index.htm>.  The
> originals are much larger and just as sharp, allowing tremendously
> detailed
> analysis.
>
> I think the photos make it pretty clear that the bird is a Kelp x
> Herring
> hybrid, but I'll look forward to hearing what people with more
> experience with Kelp Gulls (and Lesser Black-backs) have to say as the
> discussion continues, primarily on <http://mobirds.org> and MOBIRDS-L.
> Notice the slight pinkish cast to the webs of the toes - I'm guessing
> that's
> a Herring contribution, and it has caused substantial confusion until
> now
> because it makes the legs vary in appearance, when seen less clearly,
> from
> pinkish to orange to dull yellow, depending on the light conditions.
> The
> underwing pattern closely matches Dittmann and Cardiff's F1 hybrid
> diagram
> (http://losbird.org/kelp.htm) and description
> (http://losbird.org/los_news_181_98july.htm#kelpjam), and numerous
> other
> characters are intermediate between Kelp and Herring.  Of course, that
> also
> makes them very similar to Lesser Black-backed, but the underwing
> pattern is
> clearly different, and several others (head & bill shape, nearly
> immaculate
> crown & nape, dull yellowish legs, short primary extension, and wide
> white
> secondary tips) also point away from that species.  I'm still studying
> several additional characters, but the pattern seems consistent so far.
>
> This whole exercise has been (and still is) wonderfully challenging and
> educational, and getting to see the bird so well yesterday morning was
> a
> whole lot of fun!
>
> David Seibel
> [log in to unmask]
>
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>

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