Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-01a

Common name:

Iceland Gull

Scientific name: Larus glaucoides
Date: 1/15/2011
Time: 0930
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: 1st Cycle
Sex: n/a
Location: Just off the frontage road that parallels I-80 in Salt Lake City. Near the ISSR.
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4500ish
Distance to bird: 75 m
Optical equipment: Brunton Eterna 20-60x spotting scope. Vortex Stokes 8x42 binos
Weather: overcast
Light Conditions: overcast
Description:        Size of bird: Slightly bigger than the Californa gulls surrounding it. 22"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Medium sized gull with rounded head and petite bill.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: white/mottled
(Description:)            Bill Type: petite & all dark
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
This, I believe is the same gull I reported on 1/8/11. Today's gull was 5.3 miles down the road from where I observed the gull on 1/8. Both gulls looked the same. I now have pictures & thought I should write up a new report with the pictures. However, my descriptions are the same.

This was a small, very pale gull with brown mottling on the wings, scaps and somewhat on the chest. If you looked at it with the naked eye, you'd almost think this was a completely white bird. The primaries of the bird were almost purely white. The bird had a completely dark and smaller bill. The size of the bird was that of a California Gull & I compared its size with nearby California Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Ring-Billed Gulls. The structure of the bird reminded me more of a Ring-Billed gull than anything else; it was a smaller, weaker looking gull. This bird immediately struck me as something that I had never seen before.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: n/a
Behavior: Standing and resting.
Habitat: GSL Shore
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
1st Cycle Glacous Gull- Smaller sized that Glacous. We had a Glacous fly in about an hour later & noted the size difference. The Glacous dwarfed the California Gulls when we saw it, and the Iceland was about the same size. Also, the bill was smaller than that of a Glacous & was purely black.

1st Cycle Kumlien's Gull- Lighter upperparts that Kumlien's, and the wingtips had no brown or coloration compared to Kumlien's. Also, the bill was completely dark compared to bicoloration of a 1st cycle Kumlien's.

1st Cycle Glacous-Winged Gull- This bird didn't have the grayish overall that a 1st cycle Glacous-Winged Gull has. Bill was smaller and less stout. Bird was smaller than Glacous Winged Gull.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Previously viewed ICGU on 1/08/2011.
References consulted: Howell/Dunn Gulls of the Americas. Sibley
Description from: From memory
Observer: Carl Ingwell
Observer's address: 857 Simpson Ave
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jeff Bilsky, Ryan O'Donnell, Craig Fosdick, Tim Avery, Mark Mossing, Steve and Cindy Sommerfield, David Wheeler, & others on the GSLA trip this morning.
Date prepared: 1/15/2010
Additional material: Photos