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I went to Smithvile Lake between 10 and 10:30 today and spent about a half 
hour at the Little Platte Marina trying to get the Mew Gull. I did find one 
gull there, which looked virtually identical to the bird in  frames 12-14 of 
Linda Williams' set. As in those pix, the bird remained lying down in a 
nesting position during most of the half hour. It never stood, so I was 
unable to see its belly or the color of its legs. It was never closer to a 
Ring-billed Gull than 4-5 feet, so size comparison was difficult, but it did 
seem slightly smaller. Its primaries were a lighter brown than those first 
cycle Ring-billed Gulls. It did lift up and fly briefly before settling down 
again. During that brief flight I was able to see the underparts of a 
brownish bird whose general appearance was consistant with Linda's pix nos. 
10 and 11.

What troubled me about the bird was that, unlike Linda's pictures, its 
mantle was not noticeably darker than the mantles of  nearby Ring-bills. 
(Linda's pix clearly show the darker mantle). I decided that I did not see 
the bird well enough to identify it positively as a Mew Gull.

I had to leave for an appointment, but I'll try again, if the bird sticks 
around.

I did go over the dam and noted 7 female Red-breasted Mergansers and a dozen 
Horned Grebes at the south end. I also saw an interesting loon near the 
Little Platte Marina. It was about 3/4s into alternate plumage. It held its 
bill slightly upward, as a Yellow-billed Loon might. But the bill was not 
yellow. The bird disappeared before I could scope it. There were quite a few 
Forster's Terns at the Marina and flying about the lake.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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