Thursday, 19 January 2017

What's that gull with it's head tucked in?

Pat and I were in the Niagara area for some field surveys on Wed-Thurs and had some time to do some birding along the Niagara River.  We had some good numbers of gulls including Iceland, Thayer's, Glacous and a Little Gull at the Queenston docks.  This afternoon we also stopped by the Control Gates to see if the Slaty-backed Gull would show up.  We sifted through the numerous Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls and could not come up with anything convincing.  We did find one interesting dark mantled gull out on the shoal that kept it's head and legs largely hidden for the entire time we were there.  I snapped some digiscoped shots of this bird, and although there is not enough for a definitive ID from what I can tell, I would be interested in your perspective.  So...if you had to guess, what is that gull and why?

If only this bird was as close as the Lesser Black-backed Gull we saw in Thorold at the Welland Canal!

Lesser-black Backed Gull


  1. When I blew up and clarified the image, the legs appeared yellowish. Based on this, and the dark mantle, most likely the bird is a LBBG. If it isn't that, it's probably a hybrid of some sort (HERG x LBBG/GBBG?) Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the SBGU.

  2. Thanks for the comment Quinten, you very well may be right. But the leg colour was difficult to determine even at 60X mag in the scope, so any colour you get from the grainy digiscope image may not be accurate. The things that stuck out to me on this bird were a slightly lighter mantle relative to other LBBG nearby, a fairly wide tertial margin and an apparently dark streaking around the eye. However, this bird did look slightly too small in structure perhaps for a SBGU. An interesting bird to study!