Sutro Sabine's Again & UFG

Brian Fitch
 

This morning's watch was between 6:45 and 8:15, with the following highlights:
Brant - 2 northbound quite close in
Common Loon - 4 singles in alternate heading north
Red-necked Grebe - 1 flying into the Gate, and 1 fishing around Arch Rock
Whimbrel - 5 north
Long-billed Curlew - 1 north
Sabine's Gull - flying around well beyond the rocks around 7 AM
Common Murre - 80+

There was also a gull I could not identify.  My first impression as I noticed it flying north not far beyond the rocks was of a Black-legged Kittiwake, with small size, buoyant flight, and a two-toned outer wing.  But upon getting it in the scope, the finer details were unlike anything I know of.  It had the "cute" look of a Mew Gull, with a dark eye on a small white head, and a small yellow bill; neither head nor bill had any visible markings.  And yet the build of its body was compact for a Mew.  The mantle was relatively dark, like darker Mews or Californias, not quite as dark as nearby wymani Westerns.  The underwings were gray in the primaries and the tips of the secondaries, but otherwise white.  The upper wingtip was outright bizarre, pure white in the outer primaries with the exception of P9, which was roughly half black, and the inner primaries, probably P5-7, had short black tips; none of the black had any mirrors.  The effect was of a short black bar well out on the trailing edge and a single black stripe near the wing tip, both on a white field.  The size, shape, underwing, and head pattern looked most like a Red-legged Kittiwake (from photos and renderings, as it's one of two N American gull species I have not seen), but the dorsal wing tip was like a mashup of Franklin's and Bonaparte's.  Again, I have no clue as to what it was.

Brian Fitch

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