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In my RSPB guide to British Birds the immature LESSER Black Backed gull has 
two illustrations in flight.  They are described as similar to immature 
herring gulls but with darker wings - much darker in one of the 
illustrations with a very black  tail band and white rump, wing tips very, 
very dark (would look black in some light) and the mantle is a dark slatey 
grey.  The mottling on the head is also shown with the darker eye area.  The 
marginally larger size than the hering could be attributed to the longer 
legs of the LBG  It is ancestorally related to the herring gull.  I would 
propose it to be an immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED gull.

Mariel Stephenson
Columbia,  Boone County, MO
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael & Jo Ellen Thelen" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:33 PM
Subject: Riverlands Today


> Report for Saturday, December 17, 2005
>
>
> I birded Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in St. Charles County
> today.  Counted 60 TRUMPETER SWANs, including one in Heron Pond having a
> strange bill tip that I'm not sure was mud or a deformity.  Even though
> the bird was constantly dipping its head in the water, the tip didn't
> change.
>
>
> Watched a juvenile COOPER'S HAWK bathe in the Illinois hwy 143 slough,
> near GADWALL and MALLARD.  Only about 10 BALD EAGLEs in the area.  13
> species of duck included AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, NORTHERN PINTAIL,
> READHEAD, and GREATER SCAUP at the dam spillway.
>
>
> Many gulls to look at, mostly RING-BILLED GULL.  Some HERRING GULL
> present, of all ages.  Two dark-backed gulls were challenging.  One
> appeared to be an adult, or near adult, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL,
> perched on the lock wall (Illinois side).  It had a medium-gray back; a
> dark, streaky eye-mask; yellow bill with red gonys spot; very pale
> yellow legs.
>
>
> The second individual I'm struggling with and would appreciate any
> comments.  The bird was about the same size, possibly marginally bigger,
> as the two Herring Gulls on each side of it; it had a black bill tipped
> white; a broad solid black tail band, contrasting cleanly with a white
> rump; in flight a very dark upper wing, with the primaries darker than
> the inner wing, and no apparent window as expected on a Herring, and
> dark, contrasty secondary bars; a dark, slaty-gray  -- almost dark
> bluish -- mantle.  I saw the bird in Ellis Bay near Wise Rd. (Missouri
> side), and watched it fly downstream to almost the dam.  The field marks
> don't seem to add up to Great Black-backed Gull, and I shrink to even
> suggest Western Gull.  The photos are labeled "large gull."
>
>
> Photos here:
>
> http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/1048592
>
>
> Mike Thelen
> St. Louis County, MO
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
> More photos:
>
> http://www.fieldguides.com/emailing2005_10a.htm
> http://mobirds.org/Galleries/MThelen.asp
> http://www.surfbirds.com/albums/index.php?cat=10120
> http://photos.yahoo.com/mikethelen3000
>
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* To access the Audubon Society of Missouri Web           *
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