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I hope that Doug Willis does not let Todd Easterla's opinion discourage him from submitting his possible California Gull photos to the MBRC. There is quite a lot about the bird that favors CAGU, especially the two-toned bill and the dark coverts, which create a double-barred effect. A Herring Gull should not have a black-tipped two-toned bill, as Doug's bird does, until the second summer. A first year (or later) Herring's coverts should be pale, with the darker secondaries creating a mostly single-barred effect.
 
The foregoing said, Doug's bird does seem to be more robust and less obviously long-winged/short-legged than CAGUs usually are, and some of the head shots are flatter than  expected. I have found some images of male CAGUs on Google Images and in Howell & Dunn's book that could account for that stance and head shape. Nevertheless, if I were to see the bird's structure only in silhouette, I suspect that my first thought might be Herring Gull.
 
In addition to seeing this bird submitted to MBRC, I would appreciate more commentary on line about this ID.
 
 
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Todd Easterla
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:50 PM
Subject: Re: More Smithville Gulls 3-11-10

In my opinion the California Gull most resembles a first year Herring Gull. There seems to be just a little to much of a white window on the inner primaries for a 1st cycle California Gull. Also the structure looks to me more like Herring Gull.
 
The 3rd cycle Lesser-black Backed Gull seems to have a very light colored mantle, especially closest to the nape. The bird also seems to have a pretty hefty structure and large bill. I suppose this bird could be a hybrid but maybe it will darken up as it ages?
 
Nice Kumlien's Gull.
 
Todd Easterla
 
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Doug Willis
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:36 PM
Subject: More Smithville Gulls 3-11-10

Spent some more time chasing gulls around Smithville Lake (Clay County, MO) today. Still around 12,000+ gulls at the lake, which is 95% open now. Highlights:
CALIFORNIA GULL-1 (1st cycle)
KUMLIEN'S ICELAND GULL-1 (1st cycle)
THAYER'S GULL-2 (adults; same birds as Monday, I think)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL-1 (3rd cycle type; same as Monday)
Bonaparte's Gull-3
Ring-Billed Gull-10,000 or so...
Herring Gull-150
Might be going out on a limb with the CAGU; everything seems right except the bill and leg color. Need to find out how variable this is on CAGU. I'm thinking that the other field marks (upperwing pattern, tail, head shape, bill structure, etc.) are enough to make the call...
Here is a link to some of my photos (apologies in advance for the poor quality on some): 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36294041@N03/

Many thanks to Linda Williams for the help!!
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html
------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/