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Gull in northeast Ohio

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Among several other gulls which I am confident were ring billed, I observed this other gull in northeast Ohio yesterday. Consulting my field guide, I want to say it is a Thayer's Gull, although the map in the guide doesn't show them in this specific area; however, it does show them in Lake Erie, which I am about 35 miles south of (straight line). My reasoning is that legs are pinker than a herring gull, and the black on the primaries would rule out Iceland gull. The red spot on the bill would rule out ring-billed (which is what this bird was flocking with). Any thoughts on this bird?






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9 minutes ago, AlexHenry said:

Looks good for Herring Gull. Thayer'susually have dark eyes, although they can have pale eyes, but even the pale-eyed individuals there is a little dusky flecking in there. This bird has bright, clean golden irises.Bill is pretty hefty as well.

Would the Herring Gull tend to have legs this pink, and no black flecks on bill in winter? Certainly not disagreeing with you that it looks good for Herring, just looked to me more like Thayer's (which, I just found out was in 2017 re-classed as a subspecies of Iceland Gull, not it's own species outright as shown in my field guide).

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I don't think color of legs is a very reliable way to distinguish between Herring and Thayer's as they both have pink legs. I would expect Thayer's to have more dusky marking on the head and breast, but that also is not a very reliable way to tell them apart.

The shape of the bill on this bird seems pretty massive and predatory, Thayer's bill is more slender. In the first picture, there appears to be some black above and to the left of the red spot on the bill, which suggests Herring to me. The iris color is a big feature in support of Herring.

Here is a photo of a Thayer's Gull's head. Note the dusky flecking in the iris (and this individual has a significantly paler eye than average for Thayer's), and also how slender the bill is relative to the bird in the picture you posted:


Compared to your bird - note eye color and the relative size and shape of the bill:


I may be wrong, but the bird you posted looks like it has a heavy, Herring-type bill and a very pale iris. I would also point out that Herring are more common than Thayer's in your area, although Thayer's are certainly present around the lower Great Lakes this time of year.


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