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Great Backyard Bird Count here in NW Arkansas...
ring-billed is the most common most times of year... random gulls show up in different parts of the state and neighboring states during the winter...  bonaparte's can be found this time of year too but, none of these are bogu... 

This one is probably a ring-billed... no white on the wing tips anywhere...   Looking at my field guide, is this a 2nd winter ring-billed?  (foreground black is, of course, its left wing)
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This bird was large enough, easy to see it wasn't one of the smaller bogu or something... Didn't get good views in the binoculars and ruled it rbgu... Later looked at the pictures and, not so sure anymore. No ringed bill for one thing... the mark on the bill looks reddish to me... and it isn't a young bird... adult ring-billed would have the ringed bill... and the bill shape looks wrong to me too... I don't think this is rbgu but, I'm not great with gulls... 

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Thanks. I will edit my eBird report accordingly...

And thanks for the second opinion. I always like more than one ID reply unless I can easily see why myself...
Speaking of...
Is there anything easy to describe that can make the Herring Gull an easy ID?
Sometimes I look at pictures(and don't read enough...) and, I can see myself getting quite a few gulls mixed up... just very similar. Can't see the legs to get any help with leg color here...
I wish I could flip through a book once(think Short Circuit, if you've ever seen that) and just remember it all...  😕 

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1 hour ago, millipede said:

Thanks. I will edit my eBird report accordingly...

And thanks for the second opinion. I always like more than one ID reply unless I can easily see why myself...
Speaking of...
Is there anything easy to describe that can make the Herring Gull an easy ID?
Sometimes I look at pictures(and don't read enough...) and, I can see myself getting quite a few gulls mixed up... just very similar. Can't see the legs to get any help with leg color here...
I wish I could flip through a book once(think Short Circuit, if you've ever seen that) and just remember it all...  😕 

Well, I'm not a gull expert by my take on the Herring is that-

1. Probability. Herring is the most common gull larger than Ring-billed in your area.

2. Large yellow bill with orange spot- bill shape can often be useful in gull id.

3. Just structure, general impression.

I think probability and range really do make a difference. There are only three gull species expected in your area in winter- Ring-billed, Bonaparte's, and Herring. Definitely not a Bonaparte's because it lacks the white outer primaries and black trailing edge. Another factor that can be useful in ruling out Ring-billed is that an RBGU wing, when viewed from below, shows a lot of contrasting black at the tips, whereas Herring has less contrasting black from the underwing. Of course, its large size is the most obvious factor, though that can be hard to judge.

I'm not sure if that was what you had in mind, but I hope that helped!

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25 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

There are only three gull species expected in your area in winter- Ring-billed, Bonaparte's, and Herring.

That IS true...   I sort of like the limitations sometimes... I hate having only one species of hummingbird common here... but, for the most part it's a rthu every time you see one even if you don't get to ID it...
BUT...  other birds do show up...
In central Arkansas and just over in Oklahoma, a couple hours in anyway, there are other gull species that get reported EVERY winter... 
I had a vermillion flycatcher at a local lake one year, here in NW Arkansas... photos and got many other birders to chase it, some with luck, some not... well documented... and those come through the state here and there...
And I had a kiskadee in my backyard one year... 100% unmistakably...  But not documented or approved...
Either way... birds don't always stick to those range maps... so I like to be sure... as sure as a person can be anyway.  🙂

and yeah... it helps some. I had a herring gull impression with the bill myself but, I'm not good with birds I don't see often and gulls can just be tricky anyway.

I'm glad I got pics of both these birds...

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1 minute ago, millipede said:

That IS true...   I sort of like the limitations sometimes... I hate having only one species of hummingbird common here... but, for the most part it's a rthu every time you see one even if you don't get to ID it...
BUT...  other birds do show up...
In central Arkansas and just over in Oklahoma, a couple hours in anyway, there are other gull species that get reported EVERY winter... 
I had a vermillion flycatcher at a local lake one year, here in NW Arkansas... photos and got many other birders to chase it, some with luck, some not... well documented... and those come through the state here and there...
And I had a kiskadee in my backyard one year... 100% unmistakably...  But not documented or approved...
Either way... birds don't always stick to those range maps... so I like to be sure... as sure as a person can be anyway.  🙂

and yeah... it helps some. I had a herring gull impression with the bill myself but, I'm not good with birds I don't see often and gulls can just be tricky anyway.

I'm glad I got pics of both these birds...

Yeah, I guess the other part of it is just paying attention to details when you see a bird that you don't get a picture of, and experience, I suppose. (Something I lack...)

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