Friday, December 12, 2008

THAYER'S GULL, Windsor Landfill - Dec 12

UPDATE 12/15: After doing some reading up on adult Thayer's to confirm the ID, and after hearing positive feedback from a handful of birders across the continent, I'll now remove the word 'probable' from the subject line. This appears to be (gasp) a controversy-free Thayer's Gull. Comments very welcome, as usual. [end update]

12/12: I'll be out of town for much of the next 5 days (with only intermittent laptop access) but wanted to post these images of this interesting Thayer's-type bird from the Windsor Landfill today. Found the bird at noon, had it in view for ~2 mins before it flew down towards the Farmington River, ran back to the car to jot down notes and a flight sketch (wingtip looked good for Thayer's from both above and below), then searched for two more hours without success.

Images in no particular order:

Rear bird

Left-center. Mantle color was a tad darker than surrounding HEGUs, but by a very slight amount. Decent general comparison to nearby HEGUs.

Dark iris, but when the light hit it just right I could see that it was a touch paler than the jet-black pupil.

Close-ups of wingtip. Primary tips were black (very HEGU-like).

Nice example of the bird's expression. Note the dark eye, forehead sloping into bill with yellow-green base, and soft/blurry streaking through the head onto the nape and breast. Orbital ring in the field was viewed as deep red-pink.

Pink legs.

No sign of any blackish markings on the bill.

Just for fun, here's a pic of a dark-eyed "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull that was also present:

And a first-winter Glaucous Gull:

- Nick


  1. Congratulations Nick! This looks fantastic - just the sort of bird that I'd have loved to have found locally. I think I need to study your technique a bit more. What is it now - two visits to the landfill this fall and two 'mega' gulls. Nice work indeed.

  2. Certainly looks more than interesting Nick. Let another ID Frontiers discussion begin!!!

  3. It has a lot of black on the wingtip. Aside from that, it looks pretty classic for Thayer's. I'd like to see a spread wing though. I've seen a grand total of 1 adult Thayer's Gull, so take my opinion for what it is.