Re: FW: That gull

Dan Murphy <murphsf@...>

I have to second this. I've seen quite a few all white gulls along the coast
after April. I generally see at least one such bird every year. In fact I
have some great photos of a Glausous-winged Gull at LM which doesn't show even
a feather darker than bright white. Many of the feathers were worn to bare
shafts and the rest had lost all pigment. Still, it was a Glaucous-winged
Gull. I can't recall bill color, but if it becomes an issue I'll dig through
and find the photos. I presume something is wrong with such birds since they
haven't migrated and they clearly haven't molted.

Best, Dan

"Stephen J. Davies" wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen J. Davies []
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 1:38 PM
To: Josiah Clark
Cc: Sfbirds
Subject: RE: [SFBirds] That gull

Josiah and co
I have not had a chance to go check out this gull yet (has it been seen
since?), but I would be EXTREMELY cautious about claiming an Iceland on the
West Coast at this time of year. 1st year gulls of a number of species can
look very pale (even white) at this time of year, particularly in the (by
now) very worn retrices and remiges. This is particularly so with species
that have pale 1st year plumages to start with (e.g. Glaucous-winged), but
even those with a lot of pigment can look incredibly pale by now (check out
the 1st summer Glaucous-winged (specimen) and California Gull on Don
Roberson's page at - yes a
CALIFORNIA Gull!). Personally, I would not attempt to distinguish a 1st
year Iceland from a pale 1st year Thayers at this time of year. But it
should be possible to determine if it is thayeri/kumlieni, rather than
glaucescens or other type, from a combination of size and structure. How
big is it? What is the shape of the bill? Head shape? Even if it is only
a Thayers, I imagine this would be quiet something - they should all be way
to the north by now.
Don's page ( also has an
excellent discussion on the problem of summer claims of white-winged gulls -
pertaining to a summer claim of Glaucous Gull in this instance, but the same
problems apply to Iceland too. Sorry to pour cold water on this, but I
think a heavy dose of caution is in order. I would love to see this bird if
it is still around, so please post any further sightings.
Might also want to check Don's photos and excellent discussion of an Orange
Co. bird that appears to be a classic Kumlien's in every respect

As an aside, I don't think you need to worry about bringing up the rear in
the B2K Harry - I added one species last month!:|. I did see 190 species on
a 2 week tip to AZ though. Oh well...
Hope to see you all soon
Bird hard

-----Original Message-----
From: Josiah Clark []
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 12:32 PM
Subject: [SFBirds] That gull

Hey again,
Harry braught up the possibility of the gull I saw being a young GW Gull,(
which I commonly see at Crissy) I want to re iterate. This bird was WHITE.
It was totally striking in appearance, even from the top of Merry Way. It
was like nothing I have ever seen, (perhaps only because the plumage is so
worn, but still a good study)
I am writing again because Ive never heard of such a lack of interest
about such a potentially rare species.
I would ask anyone around that area to take a special peek onto the
rocks or into the Sutro Baths. The primaries were in such bad shape I could
imagine it staying around a while.


following is a kind message from Harry about the gull:

That kind of gull wason Ocean Beach Saturday and a similar one at Merced a
ago...I believe all are yearling Glaucous-winged with very worn
least the two I saw were slender but overall taller than the Westerns beak I believe is a key field mark in these veyr light
gulls, but I am not a great gullacsious birder

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