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Vagrant Black Headed Gull?


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Saw this bird at Hillman Marsh on May 8 2022, just 10km north of Point Pelee. It was walking in among some dunlin. I was thrown off because the head was not black and didn't appear to wrap around the head like it does on the Bonaparte Gull. The closest thing I can visually match it to is the black headed gull - though no one has logged that on e-bird recently in this area. In understand black headed gull is rare, but I've heard of even more extreme vagrants ending up in the Point Pelee region. Please help with this ID! Thank youIMG_6190-scaled.jpg

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Any other opinions from gull experts. There have been a number of Black-headed reports in May at Point Pelee in previous years.

The bill looks a little chunky for a Bonaparte's and the rear of the hood looks fairly vertical.

Maybe the toughest time of the year to tell them apart.

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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

@Rylan Urban, welcome!

For the benefit of others who didn't know, Point Pelee is on the Ontario side of Lake Erie, at the west end, SE of Detroit, NW of Cleveland.

 

14 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

And is a famous spot for songbird migration.

Definitely the BEST place I have ever birded. We'll worth the visit, especially if you're camping in one of the many nearby parks. Being on site as soon as you open your eyes is always a good way to start a day of birding. ?

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44 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

And is a famous spot for songbird migration.

Apparently not as famous as may be assumed.  We get a lot of new birders who aren't familiar with locations others take for granted.  We also have a lot of members who may have great ID skills but aren't familiar with hotspots outside their local area.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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35 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Apparently not as famous as may be assumed.  We get a lot of new birders who aren't familiar with locations others take for granted.  We also have a lot of members who may have great ID skills but aren't familiar with hotspots outside their local area.

Yes, and I thought I'd mention for those people's benefit that Pelee Point (like Magee Marsh across the lake from it) is a great place for birding, one they might want to visit if they have the chance.  (Forty years ago, when I had a friend who lived on Catawba "Island" near Magee Marsh, I wish someone had told me about the birding there.)

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I agree that bill seems heavy for a BOGU, but that could be the effects of the quality of the photo or if there is some head molt going on around the bill that makes it look larger. Unfortunately, I don’t think BOGU can be ruled out from this single photo. Ideally we would want to see things like the underwing pattern, a closer look at the bill or feet, or even a photo with known BOGUs for a size comparison. Personally, I just don’t think there is enough here to definitively call it a BHGU.

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