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