Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-02

Common name:

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus
Date: 01/06/2007
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Location: Lee Kay Ponds
County: Salt Lake
Distance to bird: 50 yards
Optical equipment: Bausch & Lomb Discoverer Zoom Scope
Weather: Overcast, very cold, windy
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: Medium-sized Gull
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Gull-shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Gray and white gull pattern
(Description:)            Bill Type: Gull-like
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Similar in size to numerous nearby California Gulls.
Bright yellow bill with red gonydeal spot.
White head with large amount of dark streaking on back of head and neck.
Dark smudgy streaking around the eye, highlighted the yellow iris of the eye.
Dark gray back and wings. Wingtips black with two small white windows visible.
Underparts and tail clear white with a few faint streaks on the front of the neck.
Yellow legs.
Song or call & method of delivery: Not heard
Behavior: Sitting on ice, turning head back and forth. Lifted wings occasionally. Stood for about 30 seconds and then settled back down on the ice.
Habitat: Ice covered pond.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Nearby California Gulls had paler backs and wings and also did not have yellow irises. Their streaking was also less intense around the eye.
Herring Gulls were larger, much paler on their backs and wings, and had pink legs.
Nearby Ring-billed Gulls were much smaller, obviously paler on their backs and wings and had no red on their bills--only black.
Great Black-backed Gull is larger with pink legs and does not have streaking on the head in winter.
Western Gull has pink legs, is larger, has unstreaked head in winter and a longer, thicker bill.
Yellow-footed Gull is larger and has an unstreaked head in winter.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Three previous sightings of LBBG in Ireland, Texas, and at Farmington Bay (2004).
Extremely familiar with California, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls in all plumages.
Numerous sightings of Great Black-backed Gulls in Ireland, Maine, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
Numerous sightings of Western Gulls along the Pacific Coast mostly in California.
One sighting of a Yellow-footed Gull at the Salton Sea in 2003.
References consulted: Sibley, National Geographic
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve and Cindy Summerfield
Date prepared: 02/25/2007
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Steve and Cindy Summerfield found the bird, showed it to us, and we all agreed (one under duress) that Kathy would submit the rare bird report.