Note from Kent Day to Ella Sorensen
Dated: 3-21-94


Here is the photo I spoke of on the phone the other night.  This gull was photographed in a yard in Roosevelt in December 1992. Can you identify it?

Thank you,

(signed Kent Day)


Expert Opinion of Photograph
Obtained by Ella Sorensen

Comments by Guy McCaskie of Imperial Beach, California 

The gull photographed in Roosevelt, Utah, in December 1992 is clearly an adult Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) in relatively fresh winter-plumage.

The photographed gull has the dark mantle typical of an adult Laughing Gull, has a relatively long all dark bill typical of a winter-plumage adult Laughing Gull, has the somewhat indistinct head markings of a typical winter-plumage adult Laughing Gull.  The fresh primaries on an adult Laughing Gull are always tipped with white, but these white tips wear off as the year progresses, with virtually all adult Laughing Gulls in summer lacking these markings.

An adult Bonapart's Gull in December would have a noticeably paler mantle, would have a decidedly smaller and more delicate bill, would have a more prominent black ear-spot, would lack the dusky feathering over the eye and on the upper nape, and would have red colored legs.

A second-winter and adult Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan) would both have a somewhat paler mantle, would both have slightly shorter appearing bill, and would both have noticeably more black on the head extending across the nape and around the eyes, and emphasizing the white crescents above and below the eyes.  However, the tail on a second-winter Franklin's Gull lacks black markings, the extent of black on the primaries would match that of the photographed gull, and would have the same white tips as those evident on the photographed gull.

Guy McCaskie
954 Grove Avenue
Imperial Beach
California  91932

15 April 1994