Saturday, February 27, 2016

Icelandish Gull

Saw this intriguing bird today at Lucchesi Park in Petaluma (Sonoma County) Iceland Gull had been reported there earlier in the week by Chris Harbard, but I never saw photos or a description so did not know what to make of it. While birding there today I was surprised to stumble upon the same bird, which indeed looked quite convincing for a Kumlien's Iceland Gull, much more so than the many pale and bleached Thayer's types that are around this time of year.

A few field marks of note:
- small bill
- small size (see photo with California Gulls below)
- heavily-patterned tertials
- long primary projection on the left wing past the tail, though this appearance may or may not be influenced by the damaged primaries on the right wing
- pale overall, darker on the underparts
- pale primaries, though they may be somewhat bleached
- pale secondary bar which does not contrast with the rest of the upperwing
- pale tail band which does not contrast heavily with the uppertail

Interesting eh? Comments are welcome.


  1. If I saw this bird on the east coast, I'd call it Kumlien's and not think twice. But things are weird out west.

    1. Weird indeed. Might be worth a round of punishment with the Bird Police though.