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Hi, I'm going through old photos and this gull jumped out. Taken February 10 in Metro Vancouver BC. Is this a Thayer's? (The bill colour looks a bit bright but in would have added saturation to the photo.) The only other option I can come up with is Mew but this doesn't look to me like a Mew, especially with the bill. Thanks as always.

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Here's an unedited pic. Colours look ok actually. For what it's worth, I don't think this is at least our usual hybrid type. Our Olympics are much greater and generally don't have primaries that dark, and the face and bill look too dainty to me, even accounting for foreshortening from the zoom lens.DSC_1792.thumb.jpg.af0ef3ab6930a4d3c42d5ba5b7827b1f.jpg

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12 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Here's an unedited pic. Colours look ok actually. For what it's worth, I don't think this is at least our usual hybrid type. Our Olympics are much greater and generally don't have primaries that dark, and the face and bill look too dainty to me, even accounting for foreshortening from the zoom lens.DSC_1792.thumb.jpg.af0ef3ab6930a4d3c42d5ba5b7827b1f.jpg

The dark back is what’s getting me.

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Posted (edited)

Here's a cropped photo of the head. For what it's worth: 

1) There isn't anything interesting reported at this spot in that month that I can find, and this is a *very* well-birded hotspot so I'm sure people would have thought it uninteresting.

2) There's a report of an olympic with this picture from two weeks later, giving the lie to what I said about the primaries not often being that dark, but note the dark on the bill which is missing from this bird.

3) I don't think California because of the lack of black on the bill.

4) I don't have any photos with other gulls. It's too long ago for me to remember for sure but I suspect it was alone, given the location in a shallow lake off the edge of a pier floating around with coots and scaups and such according to my photos of other birds at the location.

5) This pic is why I was thinking Thayer's.

All to say, this is probably an Olympic with its head facing into the zoom lens, but it sure doesn't look it to me.

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Edited by PaulK
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Looks a lot like a hybrid to me, there's appears to be too much black on the underside of the primary in the second photo you posted, and the white tips on the outside of the primaries (the subterminal spots?) seem to be smaller than what Thayer's usually has. 

 

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Just now, Connor Cochrane said:

The why does this bird have a dark eye, dark mantle, and a incorrectly shaped bill for Herring? This looks looks fine for a hybrid. 

Dark eye could be lighting, dark mantle also lighting, as seanbirds pointed out, and the bill looks slightly opened in the picture, which looks to account for the weird bill shape.

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Just now, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Dark eye could be lighting, dark mantle also lighting, as seanbirds pointed out, and the bill looks slightly opened in the picture, which looks to account for the weird bill shape.

Even in bad lighting we’d be able to see the very pale iris of a HERG. Herrings have very light mantles which even in this lighting would be noticeably paler. The bill is too short and bulbous for herring, which have a long, straight edged bill. In the winter Herrings have much strong head streaking, which usually looks like streaking, not the light mottling that’s shown on this bird (something usually seen on hybrids). 

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Just now, Connor Cochrane said:

Even in bad lighting we’d be able to see the very pale iris of a HERG. Herrings have very light mantles which even in this lighting would be noticeably paler. The bill is too short and bulbous for herring, which have a long, straight edged bill. In the winter Herrings have much strong head streaking, which usually looks like streaking, not the light mottling that’s shown on this bird (something usually seen on hybrids). 

This bird could be transitioning out of nonbreeding plumage. Possibly Thayer's but unlikely. What do you think it is? You seem to know much more about gull identification from your posts.

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