the Penasquitos/Torrey Pines Iceland Gull


lehman.paul@verizon.net
 

First, some very minor migrant news: still OK numbers of migrants in the Point Loma area today, but many of them are hangers-on that have been present for several days, especially the multiple Hermit, Townsend's, and Wilson's Warblers. One species that showed a clear increase today was Western Wood-Pewee, with at least 8 seen there.

Thought I would mention a few things about the current "Thayer's" Iceland Gull present at Los Penasquitos Lagoon/Torrey Pine State Beach. Obviously the bird is very worn, bleached, and tattered, making the ID a bit more difficult. The bird was actually first reported, I believe, back during the third week of April by visiting birder Dessi Sieburth, who did ID it as a Thayer's Iceland at that time. The bird's brown tail with pale mottling at the base of the outer tail feathers, and its "Venetian blind" pattern of dark outer webs and pale inner webs on many of the flight feathers on the upper wing are consistent with Thayer's. But, one or two knowledgeable birders have also opined that they worry that the bird may be at the large end of proper overall size and bill size/length for a Thayer's so worry about the possibility of it being some sort of hybrid. Other folks are OK with it as a Thayer's. (I haven't seen the bird yet in life, so do not have a strong opinion either way.) So, if in doubt, you can always also enjoy the nearby also-late Mew Gull there! (Speaking of Mew Gulls, it might be a good time to get used to the idea of calling it a Short-billed Gull, as there may be a future split of Old World vs. New World Mew Gulls, in which case our bird would likely be renamed Short-billed Gull, its original name.)

--Paul Lehman, San Diego