Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2016-39

Common name:

Iceland Gull

Scientific name: Larus glaucoides (kumlieni)
Date: 10-13-2016
Time: 11:00am
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: ?
Location: Lee Kay Ponds
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4250ft
Distance to bird: 50m
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x50 Binoculars, Canon SX50 hs Digital Camera, Brushnell 20X-48X spotting scope
Weather: Clear, sunny and 70F
Light Conditions:  
Description:        Size of bird: Largish gull-24in
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Typical Larus Gull
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Mostly white, with a gray back and yellow bill
(Description:)            Bill Type: Moderately size gull bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Adult Larus Gull. All white head and underparts. Mantle was a pale gray, similar in shade to Herring Gulls nearby. It was bigger than the California Gulls, but slightly smaller than nearby Herring. Iris was dark and had a reddish orbital ring. Primaries mostly white, with some pale gray edging. Bill was smallish, with a red dot on lower mandible.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Loafing on a pond with other gulls
Habitat: Landfill near the great salt lake, with freshwater ponds
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Herring Gull: should have black primary tips and pale iris

Glaucous Gull:should be bigger, pale iris and lack gray edging on primaries

Glaucous-winged-should be bigger, have all gray primary tips, heavily marked head this time of year.

Thayer's-should have darker blackish edged primaries

Honestly I didn't know what to make of this gull at first, Kumliens seemed so unlikely at that time of year I didn't give it a strong consideration. At first I though a petite Glaucous-winged, then I thought some type of hybrid, but the only hybrid combo that could be that pale would be a Glaucous X Glaucous-winged, and that would be a monster of a gull, bigger than all the Herrings. Kumlien's Iceland seems the only viable option, despite the dark iris. Feed back from independent outside parties(Amar Ayyash) confirmed Kumlien's as a viable option.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, many
References consulted:  'Gull's of the America's'-Howell/Dunn, Macaulay Library(photos), North American Gulls(facebook group)
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105, SLC, UT 8410
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Matt Pendleton
Date prepared: 10-13-2016
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist: