Date   
Already?

Richard Bradus
 

Hi all

Guess I have been discombobulated by the seemingly prolonged (but normal) rainy season and the (mostly) cool spring, but I was pleasantly surprised early this afternoon by my first non-hummingbird fledgling.

Near the southwest corner of Alta Plaza Park I heard the unmistakeable high pitched calls and then saw a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, quickly fed by its parent (male) that shortly thereafter flew up to his favorite small tree to sing. The fledgling looked to be about two weeks old already. So there you go - early breeding success in at least one of the four territories (marked by singing males) that I'm aware of in and around this park.

Yup, it's that time of year! Migration is still underway, but many of our year-long residents are also making hay, as the saying goes, so keep an eye (and ear) out for signs of breeding as you search - those baby birds are wonders in themselves!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

House Wren and Pac Slope

Joachim Gonzalez
 

At the McLaren Lodge after a while. My FOS PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER made a short appearance, but the highlight was a calling HOUSE WREN in the oaks above the McLaren Lodge. 

Good Birding
Joachim Gonzalez

Possible White-throated Sparrow

Daniel Scali
 

Hey birders,

At McLaren Park Sunday morning I heard a faint song coming from dense coyote brush that rang a bell of White-throated Sparrows I heard singing a few summers ago in Nova Scotia. Also vocalizing was a loud White-crowned Sparrow. 2 Golden-crowned Sparrows popped out as well. Has anybody ever heard immature WCs or Goldens singing like a White-throated? Possibility of a hybrid? Check out my recording at the bottom of the attached ebird list.

eBird Checklist - 28 Apr 2019 - McLaren Park - 38 species (+2 other taxa)


https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55511841

Cheers,
Dan Scali SF 

Presidio - El Polin

Felix Rigau
 

Presidio -  Lazuli Bunting

 

A sunny mid-day walk around the Ecology Trail awarded me with some nice sightings. A Lazuli Bunting was at the upper end of the Ecology Trail where the trail forks to go to Mountain Lk. Walking toward El Polin I had a calling pair of Pine Siskins flying overhead as well as a group of twelve Cedar Waxwings that flew into the upper grove of Eucalyptus.
Felix Rigau

Re: Possible White-throated Sparrow

Jack Hayden
 

Daniel, that barely audible song at the beginning of your recording sounds right for White-throated Sparrow, which he have around the bay area during the winter and into the early spring in low numbers.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden

Hawk ID help please

Richard Bradus
 

Hi all

Another morning, more signs of breeding, this time in the Presidio. Had a fledgling House Finch and multiple birds visiting nests or feeding young. And...

I'm baffled by a hawk I saw (poorly) flying in the distance northeast of Ft. Scott. I initially thought it might have been an immature Red-shouldered as I saw "windows" in from the wingtips (naked eye view), but it was flying (when not harassed by crows) in a dihedral, and the wing pattern was just off. 

I managed to get one photo:
Inline image

Apologies - taken on my glorified point-and-shoot at distance and then cropped to about 6X - but I refrained from any other image manipulation. 

Clearly in molt, it is completely confusing me! I noted the brown head and thought Swanson's (which its in flight profile seems appropriate, with a rather narrow appearance) but the trailing parts of the wings should be dark, and the belly clear. The "belly band" and the dark leading wing edges are appropriate for a Red-tail, but I've never seen any age Red-tail with this kind of pattern of the primaries. A Rough-legged does have this kind of wing pattern, but the characteristic dark wrist patches seem to be out beyond the "wrists" in this bird. Out of left field: looking online I found a surprising concordance with some images of immature White-tailed Hawks (esp. female, given the brown head). Huh?

Any and all input welcomed - I clearly need help here!

Thanks!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

Mt. D Migrants

Aaron Maizlish
 

A nice hour+ this morning on Mount Davidson. Weather sunny and cool with fog burning off. Perfect spring migrant weather.

Western migrants included: 2 Olive-sided Flycather, 2 Western Wood-Pewee, 2 Lazuli Bunting, 4-6 Hermit Warblers, 1 Cassin’s Vireo (cooperative, near the cross), 1 Black-throated Gray Warbler, 2 Warbling Vireo. There were also BH Grosbeak, Western Tanager, and Bullock’s Oriole on my last visit last Friday though not seen today.

Today would have been a good day to do a Big Day if I were more organized. Given the conditions this morning I’m thinking I’ll blow off my adult responsibilities and keep checking migrant spots around the city today.

Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco

Saturday pelagic - Rare good weather forecast for May!

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Penbirds and SFBirds,

      As spring is often our windiest time of year on the coast, it can be rare to have a relatively flat day offshore in May. But the forecasts are calling for low waves, and clear skies for this Saturday. Photo opportunities might be good, perhaps great! Captain Dennis Baxter started to see a big influx of shearwaters on Monday, and there were Black-footed Albatross within 10 miles from shore, so closer than they usually are. Small offshore migrant gulls he reported may be Sabine’s or Bonaparte’s. This is a great date to see breeding plumaged alcids, and Red and Red-necked phalaropes in full splendor arriving shearwaters and perhaps some lingering winter birds (kittiwake, fulmars, Ancient Murrelet). It is also a great time for finding Laysan Albatross if we find a concentration of albatrosses out there. Grey Whales are still going through, and Humpbacks are back. We hope that we can find some great wildlife in addition to the birds.

   Saturday May 4, from Half Moon Bay. We may hit parts of SF and San Mateo counties during our time out there. Spring is always interesting, we do not get out there enough at this time of year. A surprise is always a possibility.

Contact me, or have a look at the schedule and book here:

http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

 

regards

Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com

Re: Hawk ID help please - Duh

Richard Bradus
 

Well - #%&*#!  Rather embarrassing this...


It's an immature Red-tail. Of course.


Though, as Keith Gress put it: "This is a hot mess of a Red-tailed Hawk". Nonetheless, I should not have allowed the worn and molting plumage on the wings to distract me from the key identifying features (as I - and many others of you noted): brown head, dark belly band and contrasting bright breast "medallion", flying in a dihedral, and the dark patagial stripes. Ah yes, those crucial patagial stripes - the field mark that I have been pointing out for years to neophytes as the most reliable feature for identifying a Red-tail if one cannot see the red tail. If only I had kept my own guidance in mind...


Well, this is just another confirmation of the wisdom that common things that appear atypical are still considerably more likely than uncommon things that appear typical.


Lots of responses, the most interesting of which suggested that perhaps the bird is a Mongolian Steppe Eagle, a vagrant or zoo escapee. Wowser! Anyone up for mounting an expedition to find one of those in its native habitat?


Thanks to all of you who responded and steered me to the obvious conclusion. Very much appreciated! I am a bit chagrinned, but hope that my gaffe at least provided you all with some entertainment.


If any of you are interested, my revised checklist and some photos of breeding birds can be found here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55610172


Richard Bradus

San Francisco


On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 6:18:09 PM PDT, Richard Bradus via Groups.Io <grizzledjay@...> wrote:


Hi all

Another morning, more signs of breeding, this time in the Presidio. Had a fledgling House Finch and multiple birds visiting nests or feeding young. And...

I'm baffled by a hawk I saw (poorly) flying in the distance northeast of Ft. Scott...

Mt. D 5.3.2019

 

Birder Mount Davidson with Oscar "Young Boss" Moss this morning. Most notable were:

adult male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD coming repeatedly to the blooming Sticky Monkey above the trail X/fence

a getting late RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET chattering at the summit.

Bird on,

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Peter Pyle
 

Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs. Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Peter Pyle
 

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs. Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter


Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/checklist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big long
bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm looking at
my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more to
Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of the
three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots but it
pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs. Also the
continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Peter Pyle
 

I've done some research and can't find close matches with second-cycle Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp. The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one with a tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are of course extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge. Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/checklist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big long
bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm looking at
my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more to
Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of the
three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots but it
pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs. Also the
continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Peter
Hey there. I am confused here, to me this bird looks like a perfectly
normal California Gull except for the bill. The bill is deformed, and apart
from the shape, one telltale feature that it is deformed is that mealy look
to the color of the bill. Often deformed gulls have this mealy bill color. I
am not sure why, but it is pretty consistent.
The tail looks normal to me as well. This is a juvenal tail, and does
not look odd for a worn juv. Tail to me. Back darkness looks normal as well.

Cheers,
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:16 PM
To: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

I've done some research and can't find close matches with second-cycle
Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp.
The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one with a
tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are of course
extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge.
Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/chec
klist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big
long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm
looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more
to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of
the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots
but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs.
Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the
pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Joe Morlan
 

All,

Just for reference, I thought I would share photos of first and second
cycle Black-tailed Gulls from 7 May last year in Japan. They are the top
two photos here:

https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/Japan-Alaska17/Black-tailedGullIMG_7618.htm


On Sat, 4 May 2019 20:49:49 -0700, "Alvaro Jaramillo"
<chucao@...> wrote:

Peter
Hey there. I am confused here, to me this bird looks like a perfectly
normal California Gull except for the bill. The bill is deformed, and apart
from the shape, one telltale feature that it is deformed is that mealy look
to the color of the bill. Often deformed gulls have this mealy bill color. I
am not sure why, but it is pretty consistent.
The tail looks normal to me as well. This is a juvenal tail, and does
not look odd for a worn juv. Tail to me. Back darkness looks normal as well.

Cheers,
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:16 PM
To: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

I've done some research and can't find close matches with second-cycle
Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp.
The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one with a
tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are of course
extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge.
Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/chec
klist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big
long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm
looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more
to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of
the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots
but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs.
Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the
pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com




--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Peter Pyle
 

Hi Joe and Al -

Appreciate the responses and will concede that it is most likely a CAGU, though I'd question first-cycle with that much dark gray in the back and this tail pattern. As we know, second-cycle (or first-cycle) gulls in May are extremely variable, and I was able to find some trashed Black-taileds on line that resembled this bird in bill color and body plumage. Even one with an exaggerated hook to the tip like this bird had. Very few photos are available of the spread tails of CAGUs and those that I could find showed all-dark rectrices (1st-cycle) or barred bases (second-cycle) and none with pale tips or a banded appearance. Of course with second-cycle gulls I prefer something concrete to just, oh, it looks 'normal' for this without digging deeper. The back also appeared quite dark for CAGU, matching Black-tailed better, but can go with this being a lighting effect or within variation of fresh second-alternate feathers.

In the end, I went back to the primary literature including this paper in Auk
<http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20Selander%20(1953)%20%20Auk%2070.pdf>http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20Selander%20(1953)%20%20Auk%2070.pdf

which does show tail patterns of CAGU that come closer to the bird yesterday.

Peter

At 06:13 AM 5/5/2019, Joseph Morlan wrote:
All,

Just for reference, I thought I would share photos of first and second
cycle Black-tailed Gulls from 7 May last year in Japan. They are the top
two photos here:

https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/Japan-Alaska17/Black-tailedGullIMG_7618.htm


On Sat, 4 May 2019 20:49:49 -0700, "Alvaro Jaramillo"
<chucao@...> wrote:

Peter
Hey there. I am confused here, to me this bird looks like a perfectly
normal California Gull except for the bill. The bill is deformed, and apart
from the shape, one telltale feature that it is deformed is that mealy look
to the color of the bill. Often deformed gulls have this mealy bill color. I
am not sure why, but it is pretty consistent.
The tail looks normal to me as well. This is a juvenal tail, and does
not look odd for a worn juv. Tail to me. Back darkness looks normal as well.

Cheers,
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:16 PM
To: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

I've done some research and can't find close matches with second-cycle
Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp.
The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one with a
tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are of course
extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge.
Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/chec
klist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big
long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm
looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point more
to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the western of
the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get flight shots
but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with about 25 WEGUs.
Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the
pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com




--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

All,
My thought, from someone who spends a ton of time looking at gulls, is
that Peter's gull looks absolutely normal for a California other than the
deformed bill. This is an opinion based on looking diligently at gulls, not
a flippant comment. By looking normal, I mean it really does not show
anything unusual other than that bill. So I find it confusing that there is
any need to "dig deeper" on a bird such as this. It is not a Larus sp? As
you noted in a previous email, it is definitively a California Gull. It is
also a bird in its first cycle, in transition to the second cycle. So those
primaries and tail are juvie feathers. I think that bill threw you. The back
darkness looks within the norm as well compared to adjacent gulls.
Here are some photos to look at tail pattern. First cycle Californias
routinely look dark tailed, some with a small amount of white spotting on
the narrow outer vane of the outer tail feathers. But many, perhaps most,
also show some pale barring on the inside (inner vane) of the outer
rectrices. In most cases you cannot see this, you need the tail to be fully
spread or you need to see it from below. As these birds wear and fade, these
areas become more prominent as the outer vanes wear, and also as the pale
barring becomes paler through fading.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/47730592402/in/dateposted-publ
ic/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/32839366407/in/dateposted-publ
ic/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/47730592762/in/dateposted-publ
ic/

I am continuing this discussion mainly for the folks out there looking at
gulls, who like studying the local species, and are hoping to find a
Black-tailed Gull one day. I am one of those hoping to do so, I think 5 more
years should do it!! But trust me, the day that one shows up in front of
you, it will be clear-cut. They are a distinctive gull, and will stand out
like sore thumbs in our local gulls. But these oddball versions of our local
birds (the bill of this bird for example), can throw you for a loop. That is
understandable.

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2019 9:40 AM
To: jmorlan@...
Cc: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>; SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Hi Joe and Al -

Appreciate the responses and will concede that it is most likely a CAGU,
though I'd question first-cycle with that much dark gray in the back and
this tail pattern. As we know, second-cycle (or first-cycle) gulls in May
are extremely variable, and I was able to find some trashed Black-taileds on
line that resembled this bird in bill color and body plumage. Even one with
an exaggerated hook to the tip like this bird had. Very few photos are
available of the spread tails of CAGUs and those that I could find showed
all-dark rectrices
(1st-cycle) or barred bases (second-cycle) and none with pale tips or a
banded appearance. Of course with second-cycle gulls I prefer something
concrete to just, oh, it looks 'normal' for this without digging deeper. The
back also appeared quite dark for CAGU, matching Black-tailed better, but
can go with this being a lighting effect or within variation of fresh
second-alternate feathers.

In the end, I went back to the primary literature including this paper in
Auk
<http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20Selander%20(1953)%
20%20Auk%2070.pdf>http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20S
elander%20(1953)%20%20Auk%2070.pdf

which does show tail patterns of CAGU that come closer to the bird
yesterday.

Peter

At 06:13 AM 5/5/2019, Joseph Morlan wrote:
All,

Just for reference, I thought I would share photos of first and second
cycle Black-tailed Gulls from 7 May last year in Japan. They are the
top two photos here:

https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/Japan-Alaska17/Black-tailedGullIMG_7618.h
tm


On Sat, 4 May 2019 20:49:49 -0700, "Alvaro Jaramillo"
<chucao@...> wrote:

Peter
Hey there. I am confused here, to me this bird looks like a
perfectly normal California Gull except for the bill. The bill is
deformed, and apart from the shape, one telltale feature that it is
deformed is that mealy look to the color of the bill. Often deformed
gulls have this mealy bill color. I am not sure why, but it is pretty
consistent.
The tail looks normal to me as well. This is a juvenal tail, and
does not look odd for a worn juv. Tail to me. Back darkness looks normal
as well.

Cheers,
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:16 PM
To: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced
Boathouse

I've done some research and can't find close matches with
second-cycle Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp.
The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one
with a tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are
of course extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge.
Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still
welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced
Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/c
hec
klist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big
long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm
looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point
more to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the
western of the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get
flight shots but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with
about 25 WEGUs.
Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the
pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






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--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Re: Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Peter Pyle
 

Hi Al -

Appreciate your detailed response. A lot of folks monitor these sites to learn about these complex subjects and it's great to have helpful responses. Yes, "confused" is an operative word by most when it comes to gulls, and my aim is to try my best to crack these nuts. I too look a lot at gulls and well know not to let one odd mark determine an outcome. Age, molt status, time of year, feather-by-feather analysis in consideration of feather generation, etc., is what needs to happen.

I know folks have mis-ID'd Black-tailed as California Gulls in the past, even here in SF, so it's not pie in the sky to look closely at odd Californias. In any case, I hope others may have gained something from this exercise, as I have, whether or not a final outcome is agreed to. Here's to one of us (including readers of this site) finding a Black-tailed Gull!

Peter

At 02:23 PM 5/5/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
All,
My thought, from someone who spends a ton of time looking at gulls, is
that Peter's gull looks absolutely normal for a California other than the
deformed bill. This is an opinion based on looking diligently at gulls, not
a flippant comment. By looking normal, I mean it really does not show
anything unusual other than that bill. So I find it confusing that there is
any need to "dig deeper" on a bird such as this. It is not a Larus sp? As
you noted in a previous email, it is definitively a California Gull. It is
also a bird in its first cycle, in transition to the second cycle. So those
primaries and tail are juvie feathers. I think that bill threw you. The back
darkness looks within the norm as well compared to adjacent gulls.
Here are some photos to look at tail pattern. First cycle Californias
routinely look dark tailed, some with a small amount of white spotting on
the narrow outer vane of the outer tail feathers. But many, perhaps most,
also show some pale barring on the inside (inner vane) of the outer
rectrices. In most cases you cannot see this, you need the tail to be fully
spread or you need to see it from below. As these birds wear and fade, these
areas become more prominent as the outer vanes wear, and also as the pale
barring becomes paler through fading.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/47730592402/in/dateposted-publ
ic/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/32839366407/in/dateposted-publ
ic/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/47730592762/in/dateposted-publ
ic/

I am continuing this discussion mainly for the folks out there looking at
gulls, who like studying the local species, and are hoping to find a
Black-tailed Gull one day. I am one of those hoping to do so, I think 5 more
years should do it!! But trust me, the day that one shows up in front of
you, it will be clear-cut. They are a distinctive gull, and will stand out
like sore thumbs in our local gulls. But these oddball versions of our local
birds (the bill of this bird for example), can throw you for a loop. That is
understandable.

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2019 9:40 AM
To: jmorlan@...
Cc: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>; SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced Boathouse

Hi Joe and Al -

Appreciate the responses and will concede that it is most likely a CAGU,
though I'd question first-cycle with that much dark gray in the back and
this tail pattern. As we know, second-cycle (or first-cycle) gulls in May
are extremely variable, and I was able to find some trashed Black-taileds on
line that resembled this bird in bill color and body plumage. Even one with
an exaggerated hook to the tip like this bird had. Very few photos are
available of the spread tails of CAGUs and those that I could find showed
all-dark rectrices
(1st-cycle) or barred bases (second-cycle) and none with pale tips or a
banded appearance. Of course with second-cycle gulls I prefer something
concrete to just, oh, it looks 'normal' for this without digging deeper. The
back also appeared quite dark for CAGU, matching Black-tailed better, but
can go with this being a lighting effect or within variation of fresh
second-alternate feathers.

In the end, I went back to the primary literature including this paper in
Auk
<http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20Selander%20(1953)%
20%20Auk%2070.pdf>http://www.gull-research.org/california/pfds/Behle%20&%20S
elander%20(1953)%20%20Auk%2070.pdf

which does show tail patterns of CAGU that come closer to the bird
yesterday.

Peter

At 06:13 AM 5/5/2019, Joseph Morlan wrote:
All,

Just for reference, I thought I would share photos of first and second
cycle Black-tailed Gulls from 7 May last year in Japan. They are the
top two photos here:

https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/Japan-Alaska17/Black-tailedGullIMG_7618.h
tm


On Sat, 4 May 2019 20:49:49 -0700, "Alvaro Jaramillo"
<chucao@...> wrote:

Peter
Hey there. I am confused here, to me this bird looks like a
perfectly normal California Gull except for the bill. The bill is
deformed, and apart from the shape, one telltale feature that it is
deformed is that mealy look to the color of the bill. Often deformed
gulls have this mealy bill color. I am not sure why, but it is pretty
consistent.
The tail looks normal to me as well. This is a juvenal tail, and
does not look odd for a worn juv. Tail to me. Back darkness looks normal
as well.

Cheers,
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:16 PM
To: Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...>
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced
Boathouse

I've done some research and can't find close matches with
second-cycle Black-tailed so will re-identify it in eBird as Gull sp.
The back still looks dark to me for CAGU and I'd like to find one
with a tail pattern like this bird has. Both species at this age are
of course extremely variable, which makes it but fun and a challenge.
Comments on specific identification criteria, pro and con, still
welcomed.

Peter

At 07:48 PM 5/4/2019, Alvaro Jaramillo wrote:
Peter
It is a California Gull with a deformed bill.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Peter Pyle
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019 6:13 PM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Possible Black-tailed Gull Lake Merced
Boathouse

<https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815948>https://ebird.org/view/c
hec
klist
/S55815948


comments welcome on photos. P

At 05:30 PM 5/4/2019, Peter Pyle via Groups.Io wrote:
Just getting a quick word out. It's a second-cycle bird with a big
long bill - thought it was a deform-billed CAGU but now that I'm
looking at my photos the darker back and tail pattern may point
more to Black-tailed. Will post photos to eBird. It was on the
western of the three docks, the wide trex one. I flushed it to get
flight shots but it pulled around and landed back on the dock with
about 25 WEGUs.
Also the continuing Palm Warbler in the myopoum at the top of the
pull-out hill.

This is in Lake Merced Park along Harding Road to the entrance of
Harding Park golf course, north end of south arm of Lake Merced.

Cheers, Peter






---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com




--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Very Minor Fallout

Brian Fitch
 

I expected more birds today considering the light rain and the date, and I covered a number of sites to try and fulfill that hope.  But things were pretty quiet on my first day of birding SF after three weeks watching migration in Greece.  It was also cold and windy there, and many species were two or more weeks late in arriving.  I finally did run across a small flock at Buena Vista, which I had only a little time to work through before heading home.  The migrants there were just east of the summit.

Today's highlights included:
Olive-sided Flycatcher - Buena Vista
Hammond's Flycatcher - East Wash
Swainson's Thrush - EW
Hermit Warbler - BV
Western Tanager - BV and Battery Godfrey
Lazuli Bunting - 1 at BG, 2 at Ft Scott, 1 at BV
Black-headed Grosbeak - BV
Bullock's Oriole - BV

Also a single Humpback at the Sutro Baths.
Brian Fitch