Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-70

Common name:

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus
Date: 12-28-2011
Time: 11:00AM
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: ?
Location: Farmington Bay
County: Davis
Elevation: 4,200
Distance to bird: 50 yards
Optical equipment: 20-60X Alpen spotting scope,10X50 Brushnell binoculars,Canon SX20is digital camera
Weather: overcast
Light Conditions: overcast,with no direct sunlight,which would have cause a lot of backlighting at that time of day from the angle we had to observe them from,but generall poor lighting
Description:        Size of bird: Medium sized Gull
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Gull like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark charcoal gray back,with a heavily marked brownish head
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long and slender
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
A very dark mantled Gull, it stood out among the Heering, Thayer's, Ring-billed and California Gulls its was with. A little larger than a California, but smaller than a Heering Gull, with a very pale eye and heavily marked brownish head. We watched it at close range for almost a half an hour.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: swimming in a patch of open water fishing on a mostly frozen over pond
Habitat: Mostly frozen over fresh water pond, in a large marshy area on the eastern edge of the great salt lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The only other dark mantled gull likely in Utah is a Western Gull,which was also present for direct comparison, and was much larger,with a nearly clean white head. California Gulls can sometimes appear very dark mantled in poor light, but are smaller with black in the bill and a dark eye,and were also present for direct comparison.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes,I saw an adult last February at Farmington Bay, and another adult in February of 2009 at Farmington bay
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds,2000
Description from: From memory
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South SLC,UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Norman Jensen,Gail Jensen,Mark Jensen, Tanner Poe,Jerry Poe,Ned Bixler,Mark Thai, Karen Kirchhoff and others
Date prepared: 12-29-2011
Additional material: Photos