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: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.  ( 19267 )

bill rudden

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Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« : February 24, 2008, 11:25:02 AM »
Bird found by Dan Kassebaum, Sat. Feb.23'08.

 From Travis Mahan. Saturday:  IBET this forum.
 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ILbirds/message/26645

PHOTO CREDITS BELOW:
1 thru 6:  Tom Borman
7 thru 10:  Frank Holmes
11:  Jim Malone
« : February 26, 2008, 10:24:08 PM bill rudden »

Greg Neise

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Re: Mew gull pics starting to come in:
« #1 : February 25, 2008, 12:17:51 PM »
Here's a bunch of great pics of the MEW GULL that Bill Rudden sent to me:





















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bill rudden

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Re: Mew gull pics starting to come in:
« #2 : February 25, 2008, 12:40:01 PM »
PHOTO CREDITS ABOVE:
1 thru 6: Tom Bormann
7 thru 10:  Frank Holmes
11:          Jim Malone
« : February 25, 2008, 12:45:14 PM bill rudden »

Greg Neise

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Kamchatka Mew Gull?
« #3 : February 25, 2008, 01:31:12 PM »
On IBET, Geoff Williamson has suggested that this bird may be of the Siberian Kamchatka population. He sums up his very good analysis with, "although the identity to which form is I think interesting enough on its own, from a listing perspective it can also make a difference, as it seems likely, or at least possible, that Mew Gull will be split out from the rest of the Common Gull complex."

I sent the question to ID Frontiers, and the responses I've gotten so far certainly lean to Kamchatka:
Your gull looks most strange for a European Common Gull, it cannot be Short-billed Gull with a bill like that, so it must be Kamchatka.
Further evidence is: the large size relative to RBG, black on the primary coverts - a common Kamchatka feature, and that large bill are all supportive.
I have some pictures of Kamchatkas here:
http://www.magikbirds.com/image.asp?title_id=524
http://www.magikbirds.com/image.asp?title_id=529
http://www.magikbirds.com/image.asp?title_id=559
...One thing your gull doesn't show is a pale iris, which would be
supportive if it was there, but OK for some Kamchatkas.
Dick
Cambridge, UK

:  Alvaro Jaramillo, Half Moon Bay, California
I was just doing a gull class this weekend and we had the pleasure of looking at 200+ Mew Gulls and no bird looked like yours, I mean that is a huge Mew Gull with a big bill and very thick legs. The bird is not a full adult, but the primary pattern is well developed and shows much more black, less white than typical brachyrhynchus. The bill pattern is rare but it does happen on winter brachy, although the ring on your bird is more marked than I see on birds here. Can someone with a mike and recorder, or video capture the sound (the long call) of this bird? I bet that could seal the deal. Common Gull, Mew Gull and Ring-billed Gulls have different long call sounds. I have no idea about Kamchatka, but if anything it will be different too, or allied to Common. That could be a very nifty way of identifying this bird.
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Greg Neise

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Re: Kamchatka Mew Gull?
« #4 : February 25, 2008, 06:16:09 PM »
Greg,
 
This gull certainly differs from N. Am. Mew Gull by being seemingly in an adult-like plumage (no remnant black to be seen in the tail) but
 
with those obvious dusky P-coverts (recalling some ad. Cals but considerably more evident);
 
by having a pattern of clouding on the head and foreparts that is not typically shown by ad. N. Am. Mews (too sparse on head, and especially lacking a plain concentration or "ruffling" effect at the sides of the breast);
 
by having a somewhat heavy-looking and rather longish bill (the dark mark probably means little, I'll guess, since birds that otherwise look just like brachyr. sometimes show this--unless it actually is typical for Kamchatka and would help support it);
 
and somewhat conspicuous feathering along the base of the bill;
 
and particularly in having those bizarre way-in subterminal white dollops in the middle and inner primaries.  That is WAY off for Mew Gull, which normally shows just a Chevy-standard classic P-pattern with a big double dose of white, side-by-side, in the, what, I guess 9th and 10th, and nothing interior to that.
 
 
I had supposed that Kamchatka Gull would show a fairly obvious pale iris, but perhaps not.  One I saw at Attu in 2000 did have that.
 
The bird looks a little moose-ish and pushy in that milieu of Ring-bills. Ring-bills average slightly larger than Mews and a half-shade or more paler-mantled. If this bird clearly is about the same size as a Ring-billed, then it would seem either it's an amazingly husky Mew Gull, or else . . . . .   
 
Interesting bird, and I hope you get opinions from "experts" to help build the case.  What a great bird if it is a Kamchatka Gull.  What an amazing wing pattern!
 
David Fix
Arcata, California
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bill rudden

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #5 : February 26, 2008, 10:18:45 PM »
We are all up to speed on the Carlyle lake gull features that seem over-limit for L.c. brachyrhynchus (Mew).  Thus pushing the ID to L.c. kamtschatschensis (Kamchatka)
-Large size
-long thick straight bill
-darker mantle
-dark P8 (see below)

If the devils in the details.  Maybe the details will sell us on Kamchatka gull.
 
Here are some minor field marks of L.c.kam. that fit the Carlyle gull.
Bold print quotes from " GULLS of Europe, Asia and North America"  Olsen, Larsson. page 74,75 and 89.
 
Comparing  kam. to (larger than mew) common/russian gulls.
eyes generally smaller than in canus/heinei
 check:  bird certainly doesn't have the big eye of a mew

 iris normally mid-brown to dark yellow, creating bicoloured eye
check: Travis' pic 4 above.  Dan has other pics showing dark pupil.
 
 bill similiar to canus/heinei; dark markings often weaker (and more frequently lacking) and distal part of bill often warmer yellow
check:  Tom pic 1.  Travis pic 4.  tip is warm yellow,  distal of dark mark and basal green/yellow  
 
wing pattern from below as canus/heinei but often with darker secondaries in better contrast to rest of underwing
check:  Franks pic 3 (9 above)  Travis' pic 2.  Post re: bino search prep.

Third winter as adult, but sometimes with faint dark markings on primary coverts
check:  see Travis', Tom's and Frank's open wing pics above.

P4 frequently with dark markings
check:  marks on both webs of P4.  Franks pic 4 (10 above)
pg. 88 Mew:  P4 sometimes with indistinct spot on outer web

Here is the MONKEY WRENCH.  Page 89 under Mew gull third year.
Wing-tip pattern as adult, but white tongue on P8 sometimes lacking
I wish we could say checkmate.  bill rudden

« : February 27, 2008, 07:52:46 PM bill rudden »

Greg Neise

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #6 : February 27, 2008, 06:18:29 AM »
Via ID-FRONTIERS:

Hi,

while there is next to nothing I can say about the Illinois bird as I have no experience with Kamtchatka Gull, I would like to make a small comment on
one of the posts below the photos on the Ilbirds forum.

Blackish marks on the primary coverts are not only seen in some adult Kamchatka Gulls, but rarely also in (young?) adult Common Gulls (taxa canus and/or heinei).
See for instance this one from Belgium, 3 February 2008:



I suppose this is a 3rd-cycle bird.

Greetings,

Peter Adriaens
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Travis Mahan

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #7 : February 27, 2008, 06:59:00 PM »
Hello all,

There are a few additional details worth discussing that should shed light as to the identification of this "Mew" gull.

The long call posture (see Jim Malone's photo 11 above) and sound as experienced in the field:

This bird was very aggressive and called continuously, which allowed many of us to locate the bird when we lost sight of it.  Most of the calls were made during the many disputes over fish collected from the ice, and the bird often held the posture viewed in Tom Bormann's photo 4 (also, essentially the same photo that I took here: http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-11.jpg).  The call was very distinctive, even amongst the chatter of hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls.  I would describe the calls that were typically noted from this bird to be as follows:
  • Much higher pitched relative to Ring-billed Gull - almost a scream
  • A long introductory note of approximately 2-3 seconds followed by 3-4 repetitive notes lasting no more than about 0.5 second each

According to Olsen and Larsson's Gulls of North America, Europe, and Asia (pg. 83), the call that I described above is a match for L.c. brachyrhynchus (Mew): "Long-call similar to Common Gull with up to two distinct sections, introductory screechy longer notes, followed by repetitive notes. (A. Jaramillo in litt).".  This is also consistent with Sibley's description of Mew's long call: "Long call falsetto, ending with rapid series of short notes.".  The descriptions for L.c. canus (Common) have some similar qualities; however, the pattern of notes appears to be different.  No specific description of L.c. kamtschatschensis (Kamchatka) long calls are provided in these references.  I don't yet have Howell and Dunn's Gulls of the Americas, which may have this description.  Can anyone out there provide any comments regarding the long calls of Kamchatka Gulls?  Alvaro?  Does this seal the deal on the identification?

Perhaps others present in the field can expand upon the call description of the Carlyle bird.

Beyond structural details, there are other features worth mentioning concerning the wingtip pattern.  This bird has not yet reached maturity as manifested by the following features:
  • brownish wing coverts
  • dark markings on the primary coverts and alula
  • dark tertial markings
  • apical spots on the outer primaries are not fully developed (Tom Bormann's photo 6 suggests a very small apical spot on P7, which is also evident here: http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-9.jpg)
  • greenish legs and basal portion of bill
  • extensive and diffuse dark markings on the lower mandible

Given the features listed above, the bird appears to be either an advanced 2nd winter or 3rd cycle Mew Gull (see illustration 5 on pg. 87 of Olsen and Larsson) or a 3rd cycle Common/Kamchatka Gull.  How does this affect the reliability of the wingtip pattern?  How much additional pale markings have yet to develop in the wingtip?  P8 in the Carlyle gull appears to have a gray tongue that doesn't extend anywhere near to the mirrors on P9 and P10, which appears to be a critical feature of an adult wing pattern.  Bill Rudden's comments above indicate that the development of an adult pattern in P8 can be slow.  The wingtip pattern does appear to be quite close to the pattern displayed by a full adult, which potentially suggests minimal changes in subsequent molt.  If we can assume that P8 will retain a pattern similar to that which is current, then, the plot thickens, and we have a case for something beyond L.c. brachyrhynchus (assuming the long call doesn't eliminate this as a possibility!).  The white trailing edge of the inner primaries appears to be thinner than that of the secondaries.  Is this feature reliable at this age? 

See the following photos, which provide excellent views of the Carlyle gull's wingtip pattern:

I hope that we can get some additional analyses as to the potential identification of the Carlyle gull.  This has been a very informative and instructive discussion that I hope will continue.

Here is a list of personal photos that I have uploaded to the net for reference, some of which have not previously been posted:

http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-2.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-3.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-4.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-5.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-6.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-7.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-8.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-9.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-10.jpg
http://home.insightbb.com/~shorebird/20080223-MEGU-11.jpg

Later,

Travis Mahan
Decatur, IL
Macon Co.
calidris_1004@yahoo.com
Bird photos: http://home.insightbb.com/~tmahan/index.html
Illinois Ornithological Society: http://www.illinoisbirds.org/
Travis Mahan
Decatur, IL
Macon County

Greg Neise

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #8 : February 28, 2008, 01:31:41 PM »
Via ID-FRONTIERS:

This bird looks really odd to me. It is not like any North American Mew Gull (brachyrhynchus), being larger than the Ring-billed Gulls around it, having an unusual wingtip pattern for that taxon, and having a comparatively large, parallel sided bill with a vague subterminal ring, the last two characters being features of kamtschatschensis which is more like Ring-billed in this way, but perhaps not even this large. The dark eye, among some other variable features that may be of no help (e.g. sickly gray-green of legs), look wrong for kamtschatschensis, which usually is pale-eyed by the age of this bird. As I understand it, kamtschatschensis usually has a pale eye similar in coloration to Ring-billed. (I've never seen kamtschatschensis, and eye color is notoriously variable in gulls).

I don't know the long call of kamtschatschensis, but I would say that documentation of the postures and vocalizations of this bird are well worth obtaining. The geographic variation of this call and associated postures is poorly documented, at least in the literature I looked at up through the BNA account for Mew Gull (published in 2002).

That said, the calls described sound pretty far outside what is typical of Mew Gull (North American Short-billed and Mew, canus  group, from Eurasia taken together), which are fairly similar  overall. That plus the odd appearance of this bird in size and shape  have me wondering if this could be a Ring-billed x California hybrid. The calls described almost sound more like California. Just some wild speculation, but I'm not sure this is a Mew Gull of any sort,  including kamtschatschensis.

Louis Bevier
Fairfield, Maine
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JPU

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #9 : February 28, 2008, 03:48:06 PM »
More from ID-Frontiers - Getting more and more interesting:

Dear All,
I'd like to try and put the dark eye comments in perspective, as it
seems to be the only element anyone can find to doubt the ID as
Kamchatka Gull.  I've just looked through almost 50 adult/near-adult
Kams at the Ujihara's wonderful web site resource, and noted 27 where
the dark pupil was visible (in some case only just visible at rather
close range) against a paler iris, and 15 where the eye was dark
enough that the pupil could not be clearly seen.  Thus while it is
true to say that a majority of Kams have eyes paler than "dark", a
significant minority do indeed have "dark" eyes.  Only a tiny
minority have eyes pale enough to be considered similar to that of
RBGU.  To put this in a New World context, would we decide that a
bird that otherwise looks like a Thayer's Gull cannot actually be one
because it has pale eyes? - I think not.

Another element of this bird is the dark spot on the upper tertials -
this is a typical mark of third-winter type Kams - see this bird from
Japan:
http://www23.tok2.com/home/jgull/020225/ka3w.html
There is clear evidence that Kam is a "three-and-a-half year" gull
species, in that first-cycle and second cycle birds typically appear
more immature then the same age for either Mew or Common gulls, and
that birds that look to be older than second cycle yet not fully
adult are regular, while at best they seem to be rare in Mew and
Common. On the couple of 3rd-cycle type Mews I can find images of,
the only similarity is the extent of black in P8; neither bird had a
dark spot on the tertials or a brown cast to the wing coverts, as is
seemingly typical of Kams - and this individual.  I would expect that
with a greater sample of 3rd-cycle Kams to review, we might find a
higher ratio of dark-eyed birds for that age class - perhaps a
majority, even.

Looking a measurements (all from Malling Olsen and Larssons' Gull of
North America and Asia):  Firstly overall size; wing measurement is
unreliable for assessing the general/comparative size of standing
birds because a smaller taxon can often have relatively longer wings
than a larger one.  Weight seems the best alternative:- the range for
adult RBGU is 390 - 670 grams, with first-winter birds averaging
lighter; the range for adult Mew is 376 - 493 grams again with
first-winter averaging slightly lighter.  The only weight for Kam is
a single first-winter at 583 grams. Consider these data... the
largest measured Mew would fit only about one-third of the way into
the range for RBGU - put another way, in a random group of RBGUs the
largest Mew would still  look a bit smaller than most of the RBGUs.
The subject bird appears to be at least as large as the largest RBGU
in the photos, which seems beyond the range for Mew yet fine for a
large male Kam.

Now consider bill measurements:-  specifically the depth of the bill
at the base (B) and the gonys (G) in millimeters:
The averages for adult RBGU for B are male (n=51) 14.9, female (n=49)
13.5, with max/min of 16.8(male)/11.6(female); for G are male (n=51)
13.7, female (n=49) 12.6, with max/min of 14.8(male)/10.5(female). For adult Mew averages for B are male (n=68) 11.3, female (n=77)
10.4, with max/min of 12.6(male)/9.5(female) for G are male (n=68)
10.3, female (n=77) 19.5, with max/min of 11.2(male)/8.6(female). Thus the largest Mew (B12.6 ;G 11.2) would still be less than the
average even for female RBGUs (B 13.5; G 12.6).

Averages for adult Kam for B are male (n=43) 13.7, female (n=26)
12.8, with max/min of 16.1(male)/10.4(female); for G are male (n=43)
11.8, female (n=26) 11.2, with max/min of 13.3(male)/9.2(female). Thus the largest Kam (B16.1; G 13.3) could look as large as or
slightly larger than most birds in a group of RBGUs (overall average
for RBGU B 14.2; G 13.1).  I'd judge the Illinois bird to be similar
to the RBGUs in terms of bill depth.

Additionally the stats from this same source indicate that the
longest-billed Mew (40.3) would be just above the overall average for
RBGU (39.2), while the longest-billed Kam (45.0) would look longer
than most RBGUs (where max was 47.8)  I'd judge the Illinois bird to
be slightly longer-billed than all the RBGUs in the photos.

Thus we have a gull that has a plumage and apparent biometrics that
is typical in almost all known respects (and possibly fairly typical
for eye color at this age) for Kamchatka Gull.  The pattern of P8 is
probably equivocal for this age.  Conversely, it has the following
features each one of which are negative factors for an ID as Mew:
- very large overall size; very likely beyond the maximum measured for Mew.
- long bill (as long as or longer than the RBGUs); very likely beyond
the maximum measured for Mew.
- deep bill at the base and gonys (at least a deep as the average
RBGU); very likely beyond the maximum measured for Mew.
- 3rd-cycle plumage; rare in Mew.
- 3rd-cycle plumage with brown wash to wing coverts and dark spot on
upper tertial; probably very rare and possibly not known for Mew.
- very dark mantle tone; towards the dark extreme for Mew?
- scallop-shaped winter markings on the side of the breast; at best
very rare for almost-adult Mew?
- relatively small eyes compared to head; Mew has eyes 10% - 15%
larger, creating a large-eyed look.

Given the number of Siberian-breeding gulls that have been found the
New World in the last couple of years, the occurrence of Kam in the
lower 48 is not outrageous; actually I feel it is overdue given the
number of SBGUs, BTGUs and VEGAs that are being identified east of
the Rockies.

Thoughts?
Martin
BTW this is probably not the first; Alan Wormington had an Alternate
type in Toronto that was larger than nearby RBGUs and similarly
large-billed.

--
>Martin Reid


Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, Missouri
www.showme-birds.com

JPU

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #10 : February 28, 2008, 03:49:43 PM »
And, one more from ID-Frontiers:

From Norman D.van Swelm

Everything shown of or written about this bird so far, whether it is about it's display postures, jizz, calls, mantle colour, bill shape, leg colour indicates it is a member the Larus canus community including L.delawarensis. I have seen L.delawarensis freely displaying with and amidst Dutch Common Gulls right in the middle of their colony just as your bird displays to L.delawarensis. It is obvious they accept and recognize each other as family! And size does not seem to matter as you can see yourself i.e. a big canus amongst smaller Ring-bills whereas our huge Ring-bill stood out among our wee L.c.minors! A bird this big can only belong to the most easterly and largest of canus forms: kamchatchensis! If you are in doubt: put a satellite tag on it and take some DNA for me! Cheers, Norman
Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, Missouri
www.showme-birds.com

Greg Neise

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #11 : February 28, 2008, 03:56:40 PM »
For comparison's sake (for those who have seen and heard this bird), here are calls of two of the 3 birds in question:

Common gull (European)

Mew gull (west coast)

Haven't been able to locate a Kamchatka gull sound file yet...

-greg
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Greg Neise

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #12 : February 24, 2010, 11:50:26 AM »
While looking over information about Slaty-backed Gulls, I came upon this paragraph on Nial Moore's' ID notes concerning Kamchatka Gull:

"...many show prominent white mirrors on P9 and P10 (obviously smaller on P 9 in most), with a largely dark distal half to P8, and more or less a string of pearls effect on e.g. P5-7. This pattern might (or might not) be highly variable, and might (or might not) vary between heinei and kamtschatschensis. It is at the least usually different from typical canus and brachyrhynchus"
http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Identification/ID_Notes/BK-ID-Common-Gulls.shtml

The image he refers to is this one:



And here is the Carlyle bird:



...and here's a Mew Gull from British Columbia:



Just curious, was this bird ever resolved (documented and accepted) as a Kamchatka Gull?
"Only the impossible always happens"
- - R. Buckminster Fuller

bill rudden

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #13 : February 24, 2010, 12:29:43 PM »
Just curious, was this bird ever resolved (documented and accepted) as a Kamchatka Gull?

Not to subspecies. 

Michael Retter

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Re: Mew gull pics. Kamchatka discussion.
« #14 : February 24, 2010, 01:22:32 PM »
That would be to subspecies given current taxonomy, would it not? Nevermind...the ol' brain wasn't working!
Michael Retter
Fort Worth, TX
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