Gulls (part 1) at Westmoreland Park in Portland, OR (01/23/11)

Westmoreland Park is one of the premier locations in the US in winter to get real close to ducks and geese. Here are some shots from yesterday, a dreary afternoon where the gulls were performing.

Here the first subject, a Western Gull. Check the iris of this bird. It does NOT seem to have any pink in it, therefore eliminating a hybrid.

This drake Eurasian Wigeon is pretty obvious, right? Not so fast. There is a green layer extending back from the eye. This was most visible in certain angles, not so much in the one shown below. Pure Eurasian Wigeon can apparently show quite a bit of green behind the eye. Everything else about the bird is Eurasian, even its call was Eurasian, not American.

The bird below was pretty interesting: The light iris really sticks out. I found the Slaty-backed Gull! Not so fast … This 3rd cycle bird is just not dark enough, the legs aren’t fleshy enough and the streaking on the head is just not crisp enough. But what is it if not some kind of Olympic mix?

Ok, now finally an easy one. This is a picture-perfect adult Thayer’s Gull. All the field marks are perfect: Rounded head (pigeon-like look), small bill, overall smaller size (even though that’s hard to see if you have nothing to compare against), …


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