Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-43

Common name:

Western Gull

Scientific name: Larus occidentalis
Date: May 31 - June 3, 2011
Time: various
Length of time observed: various
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Sand Hollow State Park
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 880 m
Distance to bird:  ~ 5 - 100 m
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars, 60x scope
Weather: various
Light Conditions: various
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Quinn and I arrived at SHSP around 6:30 and observed a large gull with a large bill resting on the emergent sandstone rock off the main parking lot. It was facing straight towards us so we couldn't see the back or legs. It flew across the reservoir and landed along the eastern edge. Quinn and I relocated it floating off the cattails in the southeast corner. It moved to the sandy beach were we relocated it and watched it until sunset (8:30 or so). I photographed the gull and Kevin showed up and watched it for awhile as well. I relocated it again on June 1st and photographed it at close range along the south beach. Last observed June 3.

Large dark-backed gull with a large thick bill. White head, nape, neck, breast, belly, and tail. Dark gray mantle, wings dark gray with white trailing edge and black primaries (primaries very worn with only slight remnants of white tips visible). Folded wings show a broad white tertial crescent and white secondary skirt ; primaries project short distance past tail. Large yellow bill with strong gonydeal angle, red gonydeal spot, and pick gape. Eye with dark yellow iris and yellow orbital ring. Pink legs.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Habitat: Reservoir and associated sandy / rocky beaches
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Distinguished from other large dark-backed gulls by large bill and pink legs.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
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: 09-25-2011
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Decription above copied from field notes.