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Gulls plus need ID help


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My first post so I’m looking for help to ID gulls. Then I find gulls change with age and season. This is a challenge.  In late September this year at Regina Beach on a freezing cold day we managed the outdoors to get some pictures. What drew my attention first of all were these 2 large dark brown gulls. Because they were cold too (I’m sure) kept tucking their bills in. Could they be Western Gulls? We have American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Caspian Tern, Herring Gull, another tern. Could there be an Iceland Gull? Any pointers to help in ID?

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Thanks for the welcome! Looks like a helpful sight. I think I have figured out the other tern in pictures 1, 3, 4& 5. I think a Forster’s Tern but could be corrected. I was excited at seeing the Caspian Tern as had never seen it before. At to the gulls I believe there are at least 3 kinds there. 

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1) Forster's and juvenile Caspian. 2 Ring-billed Gulls in there, pass on the others

2) Pass

3-5 ) Forster's

6) Juvenile Caspian

Welcome! 

I'll try to take time tomorrow to work on the gulls. For now, I see 3 Franklin's Gulls in pic 5. Dark mantled.

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2 minutes ago, egosnell2002 said:

Only seeing one Ring-bill in the first photo, rest of the gulls are Herrings, including the gross juvenile.

Oh wait, didn't look through all the pictures. Number 5 has mostly Ring-bills, with a few herring (including the juvenile) Forster's terns, Franklin's Gulls, and I think that's it (besides the pelican...). Not sure which picture you thought you might see an Iceland in, I see all Herrings. The last picture has a herring that seems to have worn off the tips of it's primaries making it look like it has no black. Tricky birds I'll agree!

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Thanks everyone for the assistance in ID. I thought the Iceland was in 1st picture. But I think you’re saying 1 ring-billed and 3 Herring for gulls in that photo. So now I only have the 2 large dark brown gulls to ID. They are in picture 2,3,4 & 5. I think he’s very large as you can see a comparison of size in picture 5. He’s set back from the rest and is still bigger than any of the other gulls. No?

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5 hours ago, Cloebird said:

Thanks everyone for the assistance in ID. I thought the Iceland was in 1st picture. But I think you’re saying 1 ring-billed and 3 Herring for gulls in that photo. So now I only have the 2 large dark brown gulls to ID. They are in picture 2,3,4 & 5. I think he’s very large as you can see a comparison of size in picture 5. He’s set back from the rest and is still bigger than any of the other gulls. No?

Welcome.  If you have photo editing skills, consider numbering the birds in each photo so we're all sure which ones we're focusing on.

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So picture #1 and #2 have similar gulls. Both pink feet/legs but I feel like the head shape and bills are different. 

Also there were 2 large dark brown gulls in picture #3 &#4  also it’s the same dark brown gull above photo that’s taking flight.  They seemed bigger than the other gulls that I can’t ID. 

I hope this helps in the confusion  

 

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Yes, all of those birds are Herring. That dark juvenile is in a very messy plumage right now, and actually looks like it could be pretty young. Are you sure the two dark birds aren't the same ones? They both have a light patch at the back of their head, so either that or maybe they're siblings. I don't think that it looks much bigger then the rest, but that's just me. Could be a bit of camera trickery or something. What are you considering bird #2 as? It looks like a Herring to me, although it seems to have lost a lot of the white tipping on it's primaries, or maybe the whole primary feather itself. Personally I find the best way to identify gulls, or at least to pick out a different species is to look at mantle colour, primary colour, and leg colour. I'm sure that you'll find something good if you keep looking through gull flocks with this same intensity!

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Thank you so much for your expertise! I will consider what you have suggested in identifying different species of gulls. The 2 brown gulls separated after we got there so the pictures I attached were maybe of the same gull.

i was wondering about an Iceland gull? They have gone through the area quite some time ago and the photos I saw of them were similar. Both Herring and Iceland are similar in size, pink legs and yellow bills with red spot on lower mandible. What would you say is the greatest difference in those 2 types to tell them apart? I’m trying to learn.

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10 hours ago, Cloebird said:

Thank you so much for your expertise! I will consider what you have suggested in identifying different species of gulls. The 2 brown gulls separated after we got there so the pictures I attached were maybe of the same gull.

i was wondering about an Iceland gull? They have gone through the area quite some time ago and the photos I saw of them were similar. Both Herring and Iceland are similar in size, pink legs and yellow bills with red spot on lower mandible. What would you say is the greatest difference in those 2 types to tell them apart? I’m trying to learn.

What exactly do you mean by Iceland Gull? There's definitely not a Kumlien's here. Are you thinking thayeri Iceland (the bird formerly known as Thayer's Gull)? (A bad pun that I like to throw in there...) 😉

Edited by akiley
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Haha. I like your humor. I understand there was a change with Iceland Gull and Thayer but not sure about what that is. Anyways, I have iBird Pro app and they still list the Iceland Gull. A bit out of it's way for Migration but still a line through Saskatchewan. Maybe a younger gull? I'll have to look up Kumlien's. Have not heard of it. Thanks again.

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