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Glaucous or Iceland Gull

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Hi all,

This white winged gull was seen on the Niagara River in Niagara Falls, NY around 2pm today. Only have seen a couple of Iceland Gulls in my time and not a Glaucous yet.

See the three pictures entitled "ww_gull1-3".


My first impression was Glaucous as it looked bulky from a distance.

Then I was able to glean some context by the two other nearby gulls shown in two of the pictures.

I created two scenarios in my head: one at the time, and one afterwards. In both scenarios I perceive the white winged gull to be middle sized between among the three.

The first scenario at the time of sighting was that the smallest gull was a RBGU, and therefore the black-backed was a LBGU, since it doesn't totally dwarf the RBGU. But that would put the white winged gull at an Iceland size, i.e., bigger than a RBGU and around the same size as a LBBG.

Afterwards, when Merlin photo ID said GLGU, it seemed possible that the black-backed was a GBGU, and the RBGU actually a HEGU, which would put the white winged gull at GLGU size, i.e., bigger than a HEGU, smaller than a GBGU.

Anyway, you can see I'm a bit stuck and feel silly in retrospect being unsure of RBGU vs. HEGU.

Any thoughts?

Thank you!


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On size alone it's glaucous.  Iceland would be slightly smaller than the herring, whereas your bird is midway between the herring and gbbg in your photo.  Plumage and bill look good for a second winter bird I think.


Edit: Now that I've read your full post, I should add that these are indeed a GBBG and a HEGU.

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