[Ontbirds] Apparent ** KELP GULL ** at Wheatley Harbour

Kevin McLaughlin kam50 at shaw.ca
Mon Sep 10 07:02:59 EDT 2012

I congratulate Alan on this fascinating gull and holding off in finalizing 
the ID until he was absolutely certain of it. Large gull identification is a 
conundrum to perhaps understate the case and many dark mantled birds appear 
in Ontario that may not be what they at first seem to be.

At some time I may offer some comment in a proper forum. I think it best to 
say now that all who go to look for the gull have good luck.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alan Wormington" <wormington at juno.com>
To: <birdalert at ontbirds.ca>
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2012 10:46 PM
Subject: [Ontbirds] Apparent ** KELP GULL ** at Wheatley Harbour

> Everyone,
> On Friday, at about 5:00 p.m., an adult black-backed gull sitting on the 
> rocks at Wheatley Harbour caught my attention.  It essentially looked like 
> a Great Black-backed Gull except (1) it was smallish (the size of an 
> average Herring Gull); and (2) the legs were a dull yellowish-green.  Kelp 
> Gull crossed my mind, but for some reason I thought leg colour normally 
> had a more bluish cast.  However, this is not the case per various books 
> and online photos, etc.
> I took numerous photos and sent them to Kevin McLaughlin for comment.  I 
> jokingly suggested Kelp Gull, but he said there was nothing inconsistent 
> for that species.  However, he said photos of the spread wing were 
> desperately needed.
> I went back to Wheatley Harbour twice on Saturday, but could not find the 
> bird (it was quite windy).
> Today (Sunday) I went again around 4:30 p.m. or so, and immediately found 
> the bird sitting on the same rocks as Friday.  I spent a good time with 
> the bird, taking tons of photos including those showing the spread wings 
> both above and below.
> The bird sits on the outer breakwall at Wheatley Harbour, at the left end 
> close to the water line.  Walk out onto the pier for proper viewing.  Be 
> aware that there are various black-backed gulls also present, including 
> Great Black-backed Gull and a nice adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
> The bird appears to be the widespread subspecies occurring in South 
> America (nominate dominicanus), rather than the one in the Antarctic 
> (austrinus).  The Wheatley bird has only a small white mirror in P10 
> (larger and oval or elongated in austrinus), and mantle colour is very 
> black (dark gray mantle with darkening wingtips in austrinus).
> With this message I will let Kevin post a technical analysis of the bird, 
> if he so wishes.  Tonight he spent some time analyzing all of my photos. 
> I only find rare gulls, I don't like describing them!
> I have many good photos of the bird and I would like to post a few to the 
> OFO website, but there seems to be a policy where no more than a single 
> photo can be posted by one person for one particular bird.  However, I do 
> not want to post just a single photo, as it would not tell the whole 
> story.  Frank?? Sandra??
> Alan Wormington,
> Leamington
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