Thursday, February 9, 2012

Herring Gull X Glaucous Gull hybrid

On February 8 2012 there were quite a few gulls hauled out on the rocks that fringe Second Bay here in Moorecroft Regional Park. Scanning through them with the scope, it is obvious that birds are moving into the area in anticipation of the spawning of Pacific Herring. The numbers of Thayer's Gulls and Herring Gulls seems higher each day. This is a great time of year to search for rarities, as large numbers of gulls from all directions stream into the area looking for herring and herring roe to fatten up on before continuing their migrations to the nesting grounds. One interesting bird yesterday, was what appeared to be first cycle Herring Gull X Glaucous Gull. People sometimes refer to this hybrid as a "Nelson's Gull", although this hybrid type on the west coast rarely looks anything like the photos and illustrations of what are generally referred to "Nelson's Gulls" in the east. This likely because the Herring Gulls on the west coast do differ from those on the east coast, especially in sub-adult plumages.

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