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Everything posted by KnotLisa

  1. Thanks! I thought it was Vesper's at first, but something just didn't fit! It is kinda late for that one in Lehigh, and it got flagged as rare. I'm surprised to see it in a tree! Thanks again.
  2. Definitely not a duck expert, but this bird seemed about 25% smaller then the male Ring-necked. I took I bunch of pics (it was raining slightly, and misty) because in the field this one seemed so different from the near-by Ring-necked Ducks. Because of the distance/conditions, I don't think I could get much better pics than these.
  3. Sorry for the terribly cropped pics! Not the Ring-necked - the other, smaller one. Today, 3/23, in Lehigh county, PA. Thanks!
  4. This came through on the PABIRDS listserve about a week or so ago. Being in the zone of hybridization, I found it especially interesting, and quite well done.
  5. @chipperatl That’s a pretty good idea. Unfortunately, I’m from PA and was in Mass. for just the day when I saw this gull. This has turned into a great thread with quite a few good talking points! I never realized how much light and angle can apparently have a big affect on gull ID. I found some info on using the KGS (Kodak Gray Scale) tools (with a bunch of caveats) specifically for gulls, even on digital images of gulls. Sounds interesting, though I haven’t really dug into it yet. For those interested, here’s the link: http://birdingimagequalitytool.blogspot.com/2015/06/field-marks-grey-scales-and-gulls.html#:~:text=The Kodak Grey Scale is,is a very useful scale. As far as the ID of this particular gull goes, well, I think that short of getting a lot more pics at different angles and with other gulls in the same pics, the best compromise is the ideas proposed by @DLecy and @Jerry Friedman – that is, list as Larus sp. and in the notes include “Herring gull involved”. I really have no problem with this at all – I do Accipiter sp. and duck sp. all the time when I don’t get good looks or the views are too distant. Also, being in the zone of hybridization for Black-capped and Carolina Chickadee, I got used to leaving the exact species undetermined. I believe that I read (perhaps an article by Sibley) that a genetic study on the chickadees in this zone showed that there were NO pure species at all. In other words, even if the phenotype showed pure Black-capped or pure Carolina, the genotype showed they were all hybrids to some degree. And since songs are learned with these two also, that cannot be used as a reliable indicator either. In my area, I’d say that at least half the eBirders follow this idea and list as “Black-capped/Carolina Chickadee”. Others use the classic field ID points to call a bird to a particular species. This turned out to be a particularly fun thread, and I hope that from time to time others (including myself) will add to it with interesting ideas, comments and insights into gull identification – my new favorite subject! 😊
  6. I received a few more responses. From eBird reviewer: “Hard to say for sure, but I think its the angle and the lighting making it look darker, and its a Herring with pink legs, gray back, and robust bill etc.“ That’s the total extent of his reply. From a cold contact through email address published on eBird: “Greetings. And thank you for reaching out. For me, these images appear to be fine for Herring Gull. Like someone suggested, perhaps slightly darker mantled? But that is a tough call for me to make in the absence of any other nearby Herring Gulls for comparison. The leg color seems pinksih, gape is yellow, iris is pale yellow and the orbital ring is a yellow-orange color (rather than red), size and extent of gonys, all look spot on for non-breeding adult Herring Gull. The Herring Gull x Great Black-backed Gull hybrids that we see along the shores of Lake Champlain are distinctly dark-backed. Very similar to near identical to that of Lesser Black-backed Gull. And often with pinkish legs. Your bird would be a great diversion from that and I feel confident that we can rule this out. I also considered Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull. But I don't have experience with that combo. That said, I am not seeing any overlapping features of Lesser Black-backed Gull in your bird. Thanks again for sharing and for reaching out to me.“ From a referral: “Lovely photos. However, without a photo with other gulls in the same image, there is a lot of speculation here. If the bird is noticeably darker than a HERG, then it seems likely that it has some genes from either a Lesser BBG or a Great BBG. We see what we presume are both hybrids on the Niagara River, birds that are substantially darker than a HERG. We also see individuals that are only slightly darker, which we suspect have some genes from a previous hybrid pairing between HERG and one of the black-backed gulls. A photo showing this bird with other gulls would allow mantle shade and size comparison, which is necessary for a solid ID.” I wanted to note that I had also sent these two kind gentlemen the following pics of Herring Gull taken at the same location about 15-20 minutes apart for all 3 gulls, so the lighting is similar in all the pics.
  7. @Quiscalus quiscula That's a great question and one that I'm interested in too. As far as I can tell, (which is basically from running through the pics on eBird of accepted records for Herring x LBBG vs Herring x GBBG), Herring x LBBG "MOSTLY" have legs tending towards YELLOW, while Herring x GBBG "MOSTLY" have legs tending toward PINK. If there are other subtle distinctions, I really can't see them. GULLS!!!! 🙂
  8. Well, I received one response (so far), though nothing from the eBird reviewer. I asked for the gentleman's permission to use his name in a public discussion, but so far have not received an answer on that. So his words will remain anonymous for now. This is what he said: "Not positive it couldn't be a Herring x Lesser, but I think Herring x Great is probably a good bet." Not exactly a 100% endorsement, but leaning in the direction that I am too. Part of the problem with this bird (for me) is that I know of only one feature to base the ID on, and that's the relative darkness of the wings. After looking at LOTS of pics of Herring and Herring x GBBG, I'm seeing that the dark wings point better to the hybrid than to pure Herring. As usual, I could be wrong though. 🙂 I will try reaching out to some other gull people via email to see if I can get more info about this ID, and exactly WHY it is what it is. Also, I understand there's a Facebook Gull ID page (North American Gulls, I think), but since I don't do Facebook, I give permission to anyone who's interested in this gull to copy these pics and post there. Thanks again, and I've included another pic from a little further back. (The only pics I have are from this angle.)
  9. Thanks for the addition input and the links - very interesting! I have not had a response from the eBird reviewer yet. I have also reached out to one of the "big names" in gull identification, and a gentleman from Cornell with experience with Great Lakes Gull. I will update here as applicable. Thanks again!
  10. Thanks EVERYONE - this is a great discussion, with a bunch of good points! Learning so much here. I would say so far that the consensus seems to be for Herring, but I'm intrigued by the possibility of a hybrid. I never even knew about the Great Lakes Gull, but some of the pics I've seen do seem to support the pink legs and darker (as I see it) wings. Not sure if there's anything else in Gull identification (bill, gonydeal angle, mirrors - not even entirely sure I know what that means) that can be used to support either Herring or something else?
  11. Interestingly, I received a request from the eBird reviewer to change this to Herring Gull! I did (for now) but asked for clarification because I thought the wings might be too dark for Herring (no answer yet). Anyone else here want to chime in on this - Lesser Black-backed vs Herring? The more the merrier!!! Thanks - I'm always ready to learn more.
  12. Thanks Birds are cool, for that great tip! I was able to find quite a few pictures and references for first and second year Lesser Black-backed with pink legs and feet, but nothing for older birds. This bird appears close to being an adult, so I guess the pink legs ID point "can" be extended to "some" sub-adult/adult birds too!
  13. Thanks! I am just learning my gulls, but I thought Lesser Black-backed had yellow legs. Is that a reliable field mark? The legs here don't look yellow to me, but rather pink.
  14. I saw quite a few Herring Gulls while in Massachusetts on 1/10, but this one was much darker than all the others. I can't think of anything else it could be though. Is that dark of a gray in the range for Herring? Thoughts? Thanks!
  15. Thanks everyone! This was a tough pic(s), but with your gentle guidance and some additional field guide and internet work, I'm going go with Razorbill for this on. Thanks again!
  16. Thanks everyone for all the input here! I got some feedback too that this was Dovekie. Being from PA I have zero experience with the Alcids, but I'm not seeing the thin bill of Common Murre here. Not sure if this other pic reinforces any of the 3 opinions. Thoughts? Thanks.
  17. I got these pics of what I believe is Common Murre near Mashpee Massachusetts yesterday 1/10. Can anyone confirm? Thanks!
  18. Saw this one yesterday, 1/10 near Mashpee, Massachusetts. Not sure what it is, but I don't think it's a Razorbill. Ideas? Thanks!
  19. Thank you, Aidan B! Your ID tips are exactly the kind of things I'm looking for. I'm going to write some of your tips in my field guides and probably get a book strictly on gulls. Limited opportunities here in SE PA, but the winter should be better than summer at least. Thanks again!
  20. Going to try to learn a bit more about gulls. I suspect there's Ring-billed, Herring, and Lesser black-backed in here? Near Easton, PA on the Delaware River yesterday, 11/26. ID tips appreciated. Thanks!
  21. Couldn't log on for a few days, but I'm seeing this more and more as Common Raven. Thanks for all the input!
  22. No other pics, but I did see and hear several Ravens at this location. Thanks.
  23. I'm thinking this must be Bald Eagle. Agree? Disagree? Today, 11/2 in Lehigh county, PA. Thanks!
  24. Great, thanks! I THINK the bird was sparrow shaped and sized, but not even sure that was the bird singing, and didn't have a chance to grab the binocs before it flew off.
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