Fwd: Franklin's Gull - Vasse Estuary today Sunday 8/2/09

Subject: Fwd: Franklin's Gull - Vasse Estuary today Sunday 8/2/09
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 18:41:13 +0900

Peter Taylor has reported a Franklin's Gull from the Vasse - Wonnerup Estuary.  The details below.  Photo not included as birding-aus does not accept attachments.

Hi Frank
I was taking part in the Shorebird surveys of the Vasse-Wonnerup estuaries today and came across a gull with an obvious dark hood. Several of us (including John & Judy Blyth and Logan Anderson) were able to observe it though it was always at the extreme limits of our scopes on the far side of the Vasse estuary west of Malbrup Creek. We viewed it for over an hour after we'd completed the shorebird count and saw it fly briefly for short distcnces on two or three occasions.
Indications are that it is a Franklin's Gull, somewhere between first and second immature non-breeding.
It was slightly smaller than the Silver Gulls present and had a well-defined dark-brown to black hood which extended from the top of the crown (above and slightly in front of the eye) to the nape where it was distinctly cut off by a white collar. The back and wings were dark grey except for the wing tips which were black. In flight the rump and tail appeared completely white as did the trailing edges of the upper wings. On closer examination some of the black wing tips appeared to have very indistinct white spots but no where near as obvious as illustrated in any of the field guides (more indicative of a first immature non-breeding I believe from reading HANZAB)
I've attached a photo (which is not of particularly good quality because of the extreme distance) which also shows a white eye-ring/crescent.
It didn't seem inclined to move on so possibly it'll stay around for a while. DEC staff maybe be able to update us tomorrow if they can relocate it.
p.s. This is only the second Franklin's that I've seen, the other being at the Greenfield's Wetlands north of Adelaide in 1993!
Peter Taylor
Birding South West
3/13 Young St
Manjimup WA 6258

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694              Email :


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