all photos & text by Don Roberson
the scene, 4:14 p.m., Friday, 21 January 2005, Venice Beach, Half Moon
all photos taken in California
See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text ©
2005 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
|and here is one them, thought to be SLATY-BACKED GULL Larus
is a close-up of primary details, including the 'spur' on what seems likely
to be p7 on right side that Al Jaramillo spoke about, and that is part
of the 'string of pearls' in flight. We did have brief flight views but
I did not get snaps of any spread wing.
|I can't really add much to what Al Jaramillo, the bird's finder yesterday,
said about this apparent 3rd-cycle individual. Although there were dozens
of observers, it was not spotted until a flight of "new" gulls, possibly
from inland (dumps?), appeared at about 4 p.m. and the huge flock began
'rolling' north up the beach. This bird was spotted by Brian Fitch, I believe,
went to drink, and then preened excessively until 5 p.m. when I left. Of
note in the two photo, right, is that the presumed Slaty-backed (left-hand
dark-backed bird) was quite similar in upperpart coloration to a presumed
or "southend occidentalis" Western Gull. [Without getting into details,
the cline of Western Gulls down the coast is a series of steps, not a gradual
gradient, in increasing back color, with, for example, MTY breeders being
darker-backed than Farallon breeders]. There was a slightly more blue tone
to Western, more flat slaty-gray to the Slaty-backed. Best features at
a distance were the bright yellow eye, the heavily streaked nape (in a
pattern of dark brown droplets rather unlike U.S. species), and slightly
more prominent tertial-secondary white crescent on the standing bird. I
felt that the legs were shorter; this can be compared in these shots and
is a measurable difference. Maybe slightly pinker legs, also.
|As the bird preened its rump, these details of the spread upper tail
were visible. Again, note also the yellow eye, the 'mascara' around and
behind the eye, the bill pattern, and the rather short legs on a comparatively
smallish, pot-bellied large gull.
|Additional photos of this bird are on line: 20
Jan by Al Jaramillo and 21
Jan by Joe Morlan. Both of these pages also have detailed discussions
of identification. A fine shot of the spread upperwing, showing the classic
'string-of-pearls' pattern was taken 22
Jan by Martin Meyers.
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Page created 21 Jan 2005, revised 24 Jan 2005