31-B-2018 Laughing Gull
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Brown wing coverts age this individual as a juv/first winter. Fairly extensive whitish primary tips, petite bill, limited extent of black in primaries (spread wing), and white breast point to Franklin's and eliminate Laughing Gull.
I'm a bit confused on the description "Black primaries extending past the tail with the series of quite visible white spots, indicative of an adult Laughing Gull " - Did he mean to say a field mark of the Franklin's Gull. However the one extended photo shows an all dark wing which would fit that of the Laughing Gull.
I believe that this was actually a Franklin's Gull.
Excellent description, discussion, and analysis of the photos.
Good description in comparison to Franklin’s Gull (Luecophaeus pipixcan) with diagnostic photos attached. While I think the observer mis-aged this bird, it is a good identification.
I could easily be convinced to change my vote. It seems the plumage details are all somewhat vague and inconclusive and the photographs are too small to see the necessary detail including bill length and appearance.
I'm tempted but not entirely convinced (& have been fooled before by "different"-looking 1st-W Franklin's so maybe I'm being too conservative). Specifically:
- head pattern ("half-hood") looks good for immature Franklin's
- can't tell for sure but the 1 view of tail suggests that the black terminal band doesn't extend to the outermost tail feathers
- body doesn't seem quite as elongated as a Laughing should
- lastly, the two-toned plumage on the upper side (different mantle color vs. upperwing) argues towards a 1st-cycle bird - not an adult with a receding hood as suggested by the observers
Thus, my best guess is that this was a "big, bruiser" Franklin's that stood out from the rest
SECOND ROUND VOTING:
I am still not convinced that this is a Laughing Gull
I will reject this record again because I believe that the bird was misidentified.
Sticking with my initial “accept” vote. Decision based on the following points from the report as well as the photographs.
1) Structure – Observer mentions larger size in direct comparison to Franklin’s (Luecophaeus pipixcan), as well as longer, “droopier” bill; the later point can be seen in the photos. In addition, the sleek appearance, leg legged, and long pointed wing shape can be taken from the various images which are also supportive of identification as a Laughing (L. atricilla).
2) Age – This bird appears to be in its second cycle molt to 2nd year basic plumage. Some remaining dirty coverts noticeable, as well as fresh P1-6/7 primaries while retaining 1st cycle P6/7-10 primaries. Aging important in assessing plumage.
3) Plumage – Primaries show more extensive black than expected from a similar aged Franklin’s. In addition, the outstretched wing does not show the noticeable white subterminal tonge/band shown by similar aged Franklin’s. With respect to body plumage, the grey on the sides of the chest is a good mark for Laughing as are hood extent and reasonably dark nape for this aged bird.
No change from round 1 vote
See previous comments.
I now agree that the documentation may be inconclusive and seems to point to a Franklin's Gull. I agree that mis-ageing this bird may have led to confusion regarding the wing and head patterns. The bill doesn't appear particularly large or droopy, and the bird's overall structure seems within range for a Franklin's. The primary tips seems fine for Franklin's, and the inner primaries do not look as dark as they should in a Laughing Gull of this age (lightening the spread wing photo a bit helped). I agree with Jay that the tail pattern also better supports Franklin's Gull, from what we can see.