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mfoster.vt

Seabird in NC, Nags Head

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I got these pics today and really don't know what the bird is.  It seems likely for a Pomarine Jaeger, but I really can't say as I have never seen one before.  There were 2 flying togetherWish the camera had acquired better focus

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Agree with @akiley its a Lesser Black-backed Gull with the dark secondary bar, fairly slight, all black bill, pale head and underside. Inner primaries seem a little paler than I'd expect (perhaps lighting?), but not the obvious pale window like a Herring Gull.

I see you are really pushing for pelagics - trying to turn scoters into alcids and gulls into jaegers. When you see a jaeger, you will know - the way they carry themselves, their flight is different than gulls, they simply have more presence. When you do, just hope its a light morph adult with the central tail feathers in - those are easy! Otherwise, you will have the joy of dealing with the absolute cluster**** of jaeger identification. And people think gulls and terns are hard.

If you want to get acquainted with pelagic birds, and since you live in Vermont, I suggest making a trip down to Provincetown MA sometime next late summer or early fall, and take a whale watch. It should be easy to get at least Wilson's Storm-Petrel and Sooty, Great, and Cory's Shearwater, possibly Manx, if you are very lucky Audubon's. Pelagic birds, including Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers, a variety of gulls and terns, and several alcid species can also be seen from shore at Race Point near Provincetown.

Edited by AlexHenry

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You can see pink feet, which rules out all jaegers, as does the pale mid-wing panel and the whitish rump and upper-tail coverts contrasting with extensively dark tail.

You'd have been better off with manual focus in that situation, as your camera doesn't know on what you want it to focus. Against sky, autofocus often has no problem, but any other situation is problematic for autofocus.

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Thanks everyone.  I saw a bunch of Lesser Black Gulls today with varying plumages and have a better handle on them.  I am not on the coast, so all seabirds provide challenges to me.

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