Unusual Gull at South Curl Curl 15th January

Subject: Unusual Gull at South Curl Curl 15th January
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 12:53:06 +1200
Hi again

Those who have checked the NSW Birdline recently will have heard a brief 
mention of a "Black-tailed type Gull". I didn't have internet access (or many 
phone numbers) while I was away in Sydney, so this is my first chance to give 
some details abaout this gull.

I saw it first on Sunday 14 Jan. It was flying south from the rocks near the 
South Curl Curl pool, with Silver Gulls.  I had it in my bins for only a few 
seconds but was able to pick out the bigger size, dark-grey wings, and darker 
subterminal tail band. I wrote "Adult Pacific Gull" in my notebook.

The next day (Jan  I saw the bird for longer and much closer, but without the 
aid of binoculars.  It was about 100m further south, and this time I saw it 
take off, fly and land.  I observed it for about a minute, then raced up to get 
my scope or binoculars.  It was gone when I got back, and I was unable to 
relocate the bird over the next few days.

The following features were noted:

Size: Larger than Silver gulls, but didn't seem as big as the Pacific Gulls I 
see almost every day near my home in Geelong.

Shape/Position:  Seemed to have a longer neck and slimmer body than Pacific 
Gull - but these are features that are hard to quantify, especially when other 
pacifics not present.

Bill: Larger than Silver gulls, but not massive like Pacific.  Wholly or almost 
wholly dark.

Head:Some mottling around back of crown and nape, suggesting immature.

Wings:  Dark grey with whitish crescent-shaped windows near base of primaries - 
not always visible. Some white along trailing edge of wing.

Tail: Black subterminal tail band.

The overall appearance was of a bird about a year before full mature plumage.  
It seemed smaller than a Pacific Gull. When I saw it standing my 'gut-feeling' 
was Kelp Gull - but how do you explain the back tail band?

My only guides were Pizzey & Knight and the paperback Harrison.  That's what 
led me to suggest Black-tailed Gull.  I really can't explain it as anything 
It will probably turn out to be a Pacific Gull and I'll have been wrong in one 
or two points of description - if anyone does get to see it again.

Apologies for not letting people know earlier.  Hope someone finds it again!

Russell Woodford

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Unusual Gull at South Curl Curl 15th January, rwood <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU