Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Illinois USA – 20140215

A selection of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus that I photographed at the North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA during my trip to the States in February.

As a Dutch gull watcher, I very much associate Lesser Black-backed Gulls with Europe and Africa and I found it very odd to come across a handful of individuals during my trip.

I also noticed that these American individuals looked very similar to the type of Lesser Black-backed Gulls that I am used to seeing in the Netherlands (of the ‘Dutch intergrade type’: a mix of graellsii and intermedius); including the shade of gray in the mantle and wings.

Bird #1

Adult with mirror across both webs on P10 and a small mirror on the outer web of P9. No black on P4 or P3.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

Bird #2

Adult with mirror across both webs on P10 and a small mirror on the inner web of P9. P4 has a small black spot on the outer web.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

Bird #3

3rd-cycle / 4th-calendar year  type, based on the adult-type primaries with small apical spots, brown hue in the upper wing coverts, brown lesser coverts in the lower wing, black remnants in the tail, much black in the primary coverts and much black in the bill.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

15 February 2014, North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA.

North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, USA:

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3 thoughts on “Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Illinois USA – 20140215

    • Hi Phil,

      Lesser Black-backed Gulls have only been reported in the USA as recently as the 1930s.
      Have a look at this article here:
      FIRST TWO RECORDS OF EUROPEAN-BANDED LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS LARUS FUSCUS IN AMERICA (2011)
      http://tinyurl.com/pr455z8
      Based on the fact that only 2 ringed European Lesser Black-backed Gulls have been observed in the USA so far, it is thought that the population that has established itself (and is still growing?) does not originate from Europe but from western Iceland and Greenland.
      In turn, the Greenland population seems to have established itself mainly from the 1970s/1980s onwards:
      The Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, in Greenland (2007) http://tinyurl.com/qyycm3r

      • Thanks for the info. For some reason, I was thinking that LBBs actually originated in North America – being the far end of the famous ‘gull ring’ that starts with the European Herring Gull in Western Europe, but I realize that I’ve got that backwards.

        By the way – would you like to see a gull eat an eyeball? Just for your information…
        http://www.uk-wildlife.co.uk/gull-eats-seal-pup-eye/

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