Photos By Shawn Weigelt
April 4, 2010
Olympic Game Farm, Sequim, Washington
Identifying gulls that inhabit the Puget Sound region can be very challenging as many of the species frequently hybridize. One of the most numerous of these hybrids is the Western x Glaucous-winged Gull, often referred to as the, “Puget Sound Gull.” Species that are, “pure,” can be difficult to pick out of a flock and it is a skill I have definitely not mastered. I took these closeups of an adult and juvenile gull in the hopes of getting some good detail that might be helpful in making a solid ID. This adult clearly shows a, “dusky,” colored eye with a, “pinkish,” eye ring and gape that David Allen Sibley illustrates in “The Sibley Guide to Birds,” as being characteristic of pure Glaucous-winged Gull. The bill of this juvenile is also completely dark, which can be another trait of Glaucous-winged and also appears to show the start of a, “pinkish,” gape as well. Despite this evidence, I don’t think I can completely tell what they are because of the frequency of hybrids in our area. The experts indicate that there are a lot of possibilities for variation so who knows? I’m calling them Glaucous-winged for the purpose of the blog, at least! They’re not bad closeups at any rate!
Nikon D80 70-300mm VR, ISO 100, hand held
1) at 250mm, 1/640sec, f/5.6
2) at 170mm, 1/400sec, f/5.0