[Ontbirds]Thayer's Gull today and strange gull yesterday

Ladouceur, Bernie Bernie.Ladouceur at cra-arc.gc.ca
Wed Nov 28 13:27:33 EST 2007

This morning at about 8 a.m. Bob Cermak and I had a second winter Thayer's Gull looking east off Britannia Point. It was standing and walking in shallow water between the exposed shoal and the Ottawa River Parkway. Structurally, the bird resembled an Iceland Gull. It was off-white overall with slightly darker coverts and tertials (but still very pale), a little bit of mottling on the breast, grey mantle feathers, an all dark bill, pale chocolate primaries edged with white, and a slightly darker chocolate complete and unmottled tailband.

More on the posting by Bob Cermak yesterday about the dark-backed gull observed yesterday along the Ottawa River off Oakley street. He forgot to mention the possibility of a hybrid, in particular Great Black-backed X Herring Gull, which upon reflection seems to me to be the most likely possibility. The colour of the mantle was halfway between a Great Black-backed Gull and a Herring Gull, i.e. just slightly lighter than a Lesser Black-backed and probably darker than any Vega Gull - but my experience with Vega Gulls is very limited; the bird "appeared" to be slightly larger than the Herring Gulls next to it; and the paleness of the head. The bird also appeared to lack the robust features (head, bill, body) that I associate with Western Gull. We did not see the legs and we adjusted our position to try and seen them. From any angle the bird was easily relocated and appeared to be dark-backed gull, but definitely not either a (pure) Great Black-backed Gull or Herring Gull. 

For directions to Britannia Point, click on the following link; find 1. The Britannia Conservation Area (BCA) and scroll down to Britannia Point.  


Oakley street is about halfway between Scrivens Street and Ottawa Beach (Andrew Haydon Park East), north of Carling Avenue. You can find directions to Scrivens street and Ottawa Beach by clicking on the link above and scrolling further down.

Bernie Ladouceur

More information about the ONTBIRDS mailing list