Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2009-05

Common name:

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus
Date: 01-03-09
Time: ~10:00
Length of time observed: 10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: third-cycle
Location: Sand Hollow State Park
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~950 m
Distance to bird: 50 m
Optical equipment: 10 x 42 binoculars 30-60x scope
Weather: windy and overcast following winter storm
Light Conditions: overcast
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Sand Hollow State Park, Washington Co., UT
January 3, 2009

I pulled up at the overlook at Sand Hollow and quickly noticed a dark-mantled gull perched on the sandstone outcrops with a large flock of Ring-billed Gulls, the continuing first-winter Glaucous-winged Gull, and a few cormorants. I was able to view it in the scope for a few minutes and determine it was a third-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. I took a few long-distance photos. A passing Bald Eagle spooked the flock and I watched the LBB Gull fly around and perch briefly on the sandstone outcrop were I managed a few photos through the scope with my Nikon camera. It took off again and I tried unsuccessfully, to relocate it several times on the 3rd and Jan 4th.

Large gull, with dark gray mantle, and bright white undersides. Stout bill with yellow tip and yellow base, mostly on lower mandible and black mid section. Yellow legs. Head and neck white with brownish gray streaking on the head, extending down the nape, sides of the neck, and upper breast. Pale eye with surrounding dark smudges. Large white crescent on folded wings (tertials). Black primaries with very small white tips, largest on P5 and P6 and reduced on outer tips. In flight, dark gray wings (greater, median, and lesser) coverts, with extensive black on outer primaries and bright white trailing edge (on secondaries and inner primaries). White uppertail coverts; tail mostly white with a few dark markings remaining on the inner remiges.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: n/a
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
California Gull - smaller, lighter backed, greenish-yellow legs, more white on primary tips

Great Black-backed Gull - pink legs, more white on primary tips, lightly streaked head, very stout bill

Western Gull - occasionally with yellow legs, but very stout bill, reduced streaking on head and neck, shorter wing projection

Slaty-backed Gull - large and bulky, typically bright pink legs, primaries with white tips to P8, typically mirror on P9

Yellow-footed Gull - very stout bill, second cycle can be very similiar to third cycle LBB Gull, however typically with more extensive black in tail, and no mirror on P10.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
yes, but somewhat limited
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 03-26-09
Additional material: Photos
Additional Comments: notes above copied from field notes written immediately following sighting