Record # 7-1998
Taken from a report by Keith Evans


YELLOW-FOOTED GULL AND OTHER RARITIES IN UTAH DURING FALL,
1998
By Keith Evans

This report documents observations of Yellow-footed Gull,
Ruddy Turnstone, Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter,
Semipalmated Plover, BairdTs Sandpiper, Short-billed
Dowitcher, SabineTs Gull, Blue Jay, Northern Parula, and
Western Bluebird. Photos are included for Yellow-footed
Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, BairdTs Sandpiper, and Short-billed
Dowitcher.

[ Yellow-footed Gull ]

A Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens) was observed by George
Barrowclough, Cole Crocker-Bedford and me at about 4:00 pm
on October 4, 1998 at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
George is Associate Curator, American Museum of Natural
History, New York and Cole works for the Forest Service in
Alaska. The three of us were on a field trip sponsored by
the Raptor Research Foundation. The enclosed photos were
taken by me with a Canon A2E camera attached to a Leica
Televid 77 spotting scope -- the result is an 800mm
telephoto. Original photos are on Kodachrome 200 slide
film. The enclosed prints were copied, from the slides,
onto Kodak Gold negative film, then printed.

The Yellow-footed Gull was spotted in the canal along the
north-south road on the east side of Unit 2 at Bear River
Refuge. The gull was about two-thirds the distance from
the restroom, at the old refuge headquarters site, to where
the road turns west. The GPS coordinates were 41 27' North
and 112 17' West. The gull spent time on the canal bank
eating a dead fish and in the canal swimming with
California and Ring-billed Gulls. Yellow-footed Gulls nest
on islands in the Gulf of California and occasionally
travel north as far as the Salton Sea in California during
the post-breeding period. As far as I know, this is the
first record of Yellow-footed Gull in Utah.

George Barrowclough and I discussed the identifying
characteristics while observing the gull. I first thought
it was a Western Gull and remarked that Western Gulls were
rare in Utah. George said it was not a Western as it had
yellow feet. I then suggested a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
George is familiar with Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the
east coast and said it was too big and the yellow on the
feet and legs was too bright. We then determined from a
Peterson Field Guide of Western Birds that it was a Yellow-
footed Gull. Enclosed are three photos. These photos were
taken on a cloudy day with intermittent rain and sleet
falling. The colors are not as pronounced as they looked
during our observations through binoculars and the spotting
scope.

Photo #1 [Photo A] shows the yellow legs, feet, and bill with the red
spot on the lower mandible. The yellow was actually much
brighter and what we described as "sunflower yellow" during
our observations. Photo #2 [photo B] shows the Yellow-footed Gull
with a winter plumage California Gull. This photo is
included to document the dark mantle on the Yellow-footed
Gull and the size difference -- the Yellow-footed Gull
being much larger. Photo #3 [photo C] is a side view showing
additional characteristics of the gull.