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Stumped by this juvenile gull...


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I saw this juvenile gull on the morning of July 25, 2021, on the James River just above Reusen's Dam in Lynchburg, VA. I thought that the only realistic possibility was Bonaparte's, as it is the most likely black-billed, smallish gull that would be found around here. Having looked more closely, however, I can't find a photo or description of a juv. Bonaparte's with the upperparts pattern seen in the photos and without some semblance of a black spot behind the eye. In looking at Sibley's, it struck me that the pictures I took look more like a juvenile Sabine's Gull, and the picture of a juv. on eBird has the same upperparts pattern and no spot behind the eye. I know this gull shouldn't be anywhere near here, but...am I crazy?1661056083_Bonapartesgull-1-2.thumb.jpg.ceee249182b38a82d995f1826371f109.jpg1821119312_Bonapartesgull-1.thumb.jpg.e82a04b704103c78a403dbd2df104847.jpg137750454_Bonapartesgull-6.thumb.jpg.d48e60611fac56dba61fce8e2aefae26.jpg

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Since there haven’t been any further comments, I’ll add some more details.

This is either a juvenile or first summer bird, I’m guessing first summer but not sure (first summer meaning it is approximately one calendar year of age.

It has a pretty slim, jet black bill. What we can see of the primaries is all black (both above and below), and it has a black tail band. Overall it just looks a lot like a young LBBG to me. 
 

Compared to this first spring Lesser Black back:

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/321148501

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2 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

Since there haven’t been any further comments, I’ll add some more details.

This is either a juvenile or first summer bird, I’m guessing first summer but not sure (first summer meaning it is approximately one calendar year of age.

It has a pretty slim, jet black bill. What we can see of the primaries is all black (both above and below), and it has a black tail band. Overall it just looks a lot like a young LBBG to me. 
 

Compared to this first spring Lesser Black back:

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/321148501

Thanks for all these details. I've kind of gone all over the place with this one, since I'm not too familiar with American gulls. At first (without any research), I assumed it was a BOGU, then Thayer's...I think your explanation makes the most sense, though. I wish I would have given more effort to capturing a good picture, though. 

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44 minutes ago, sixfros said:

I think your explanation makes the most sense, though. I wish I would have given more effort to capturing a good picture, though. 

The pictures are perfectly good enough to conclusively identify the bird. I am absolutely certain that it is a Lesser Black-backed Gull. It is a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

 

However, it may be a juvenile, not a first summer as I previously suggested. I'm not sure.

Here's a couple more pics to compare to:

https://gullstothehorizon.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/1cy-lesser-black-backed-gulls-in-juvenile-plumage-20131103/

Edited by AlexHenry
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