Help with identification please

Subject: Help with identification please
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2003 12:40:50 +1000
While lunching in the Carlton Gardens (Melbourne) yesterday, I  noticed a
bird that resembled a Silver Gull in shape and behaviour, however showed
markedly different coloration.  The description (observed without the
benefit of binoculars) is:

- Silvergull size/shape
- White back
- Black chest and underparts
- Black head with pale grey/white crown.
- White/pale grey eye or eye patch.  The eyes gave the appearance of being
blind, however the bird seemed to have functioning eyesight.
- Black markings at base of tail (either black wingtips, or some patches on
the otherwise white tail).
- Beak was similar in shape to Silver Gull, however possibly more curved
along the top edge.  The beak was possibly either a dull yellow or pale
- Legs were either pale orange or yellow.

In flight, the bird's otherwise white wings had symmetrical dark grey
smudges on the shoulder.

The bird was observed walking/bathing on raised bricks in the pond, the
legs partially submerged, and front feathers dampened by the water.  It was
alone, and flew off when a Silver Gull arrived.

Any assistance/suggestions on what this bird may have been would be greatly
appreciated.  I have scoured my field guides and bird books and come up
empty on an identification.  It's driving me nuts!!

Caroline Allen
(I'm normally quite quiet on this list, but greatly enjoy reading
everyone's contributions).

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