Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-35

Common name:

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus
Date: 2/22/04
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: 2nd winter
Location: Farmington Bay WMA
County: Davis
Distance to bird: Varied from 20 to 35 yards
Optical equipment: Pentax 8x42 Binoculars, Pentax 10x42 Binoculars, Bausch & Lomb Discoverer Zoom Scope
Weather: Overcast
Light Conditions: Good. Even with the clouds, we saw the bird well especially because it was so close!
Detailed description of bird: Size--It was slimmer and smaller than the nearby Herring Gulls. Eyes--It had obvious yellow irises. There were also dark smudgy markings completely surrounding the eyes.
Face--The rest of the face was white with very sparse dark streaking. The forehead was white without any streaking.
Bill--It was smaller than the Herring Gulls'. It was dark in color with a discernible but small bit of pale yellow at the base of the lower
Legs--They were a pale (not very bright)yellow color.
Belly and throat--They were both white.
Nape--It was white with sparse dark streaking.
Mantle--It was slate gray with a few brown markings. The gray was obviously darker than the Herring Gulls' mantles.
Wings--The upper wings were dark brown and much darker toward the tips of the wings. The under wings were also dark brown.
Tail--The upper tail coverts were white with a few sparse brown markings. There was a black band near the end of the tail. This band widened
a bit toward the middle of the tail (so it was narrower on the edges of the tail). The black tail band had a narrow white edging on the outer
edges and the tip of the tail. This narrow white edging along the outer edges of the tail had a few dark lines appearing in it which increased and darkened toward the tip of the tail.
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: Flew low over and then landed in shallow water several times. Standing, feeding, flapping wings without flying, and periodically chasing other nearby birds.
Habitat: Mudflats covered with very shallow water.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Herring Gulls were larger and bulkier.
The 2nd winter Herring Gulls in the vicinity had lighter mantles and pink legs and were lighter under their wings.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
We've seen several Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Ireland. We also saw one in Texas several years ago. We've seen many Herring Gulls over the years.
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 08/12/04   (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: