Lesser Black-backed Gull in Broome

To: Rohan Clarke <>, Harry Nyström <>
Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull in Broome
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 06:19:21 -0800 (PST)
Hi all,

Congratulations to these great shots, Rohan!
Whilst I agree that this guy is too dark for a Larus (heuglini) taimyrensis, I 
still don't like the idea of it being a Larus fuscus fuscus. I still think that 
the bird is too bulky and that its upperparts are too cold dark grey for a L. 
f. fuscus. My ID would still be Larus heuglini. Contra my initial comment, more 
likely L. h. heuglini than L. h. taimyrensis.


Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

 From: Rohan Clarke <>
To: Harry Nyström <> 
Cc: Mike Carter <>; Jeff Davies <>; 
Nikolas Haass <>; George Swann of Kimberley Birdwatching 
<>; Richard Baxter <>; 
"" <>; Frank O'Connor 
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 8:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Lesser Black-backed Gull in Broome

Hi Harry,
Regarding the Broome Gull, I have just finished posting 20 images
      to the following link.

It would be great if you could pass this link on to some Finnish
      laridists, as I know all of the observers would be keen to hear
      their opinions. If you (or they) require higher resolution copies
      of any of the images I'd be happy to forward these directly.


On 21/01/2013 3:38 PM, Harry Nyström wrote:

As we have the nominate race of the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus 
fuscus) breeding here in Finland and several Heuglin's Gulls (Larus fuscus 
heuglini) passing by each year, I would be happy to forward some images to some 
Finnish "laridists" for assessment if you want to. Just let me know when the 
photos are available and if you would like to hear another opinion, and I'll 
handle the rest.
>2013/1/21 Mike Carter <>
>We (Rohan Clarke, Richard Baxter, Frank O'Connor and I) are back from Broome 
>where the Lesser Black-backed Gull was easily found and viewed. Before we got 
>there George & Jim had taken more photos from better angles, fuller profile 
>shots, which confirmed our judgements from the earlier images. While we were 
>there ca. 1,000 photos were taken notably by Rohan Clarke, photographer 
>extraordinaire, and nine of those are already in circulation and will no 
>doubt, soon be posted on his web site but 
>I did not find them when I looked this morning. Virtually all aspects are 
>>Firstly for those interested in twitching this bird, the
            rubbish tip is in the ominously named Buckley's Street (or
            Road), a ten minute drive from China Town, Broome. Probably
            because we there on a Saturday morning when no heavy
            vehicles were operating, there was no hesitation from gate
            control in allowing us in. Note that we arrived at different
            times in 4WD vehicles and were allowed to drive anywhere but
            wandering about on foot was not permitted. Entry on week
            days and after rain may be more difficult and due to the
            undulating nature of the site, the bird is unlikely to be
            easily visible from outside the fence. The site was muddy
            with pools of water and torrential rain that afternoon after
            we had left may have made it impassable. The bird was
            present throughout our stay, often associating with Silver
            Gulls. As previously stated, anyone experiencing difficulty
            should contact George Swann. And don't forget that the
            Semi-palmated Plover should still be around Broome.
>>Whilst this bird could easily be mistaken for a Kelp Gull,
            there are several characters, some more subjective than
            others, that proclaim that this is not a Kelp Gull. These
            include structural features such as general shape being more
            gracile, smaller head, slighter bill as well as plumage
            features such as more greyish tones to upperparts. The most
            convincing, measurable features are the obviously longer
            wings projecting much further beyond the tail and the moult
>>The bird is one of two similar taxa, which according to the
            latest IOC classification as adopted by BARC, are both
            subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus. These
            are the nominate fuscus (Baltic Gull) favoured by some, me
            included although I oscillate, and the race heuglini (AKA
            Heuglin's Gull) favoured by others. Most consider it too
            dark for the race taimyrensis.
>>Expressing the moult situation in the manner set out by
            Nikolas in the email below obscures important details. There
            are clearly two feather generations in the primaries. Whilst
            slightly worn indicating that they are not fresh feathers,
            p1 to p6 are much newer than p7 to p10, which are very old
            and worn. Whilst this moult pattern does fit heuglini, it
            also fits fuscus so is of little or no value in determining
            subspecies. Using the wing tip diagrams in the Olsen &
            Larsson Gull book pages 26-32, the darkness of the primaries
            is a better fit for fuscus, whilst the size of the remnant
            mirror on p10 is a better fit for heuglini. I also feel that
            the total lack of dark streaking on the head or neck that is
            supposedly a feature of winter plumage in both contending
            taxa favours fuscus as that race has the least amount of
>>Mike Carter
>>30 Canadian Bay Road
>>Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
>>Tel  (03) 9787 7136

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

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