Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

To: "'Philip Veerman'" <>, "'Chris Corben'" <>, <>
Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip
From: "Jeff Davies" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:42:58 +1100
G'day Philip,

You have covered the Gull DNA issues thoroughly here but I recon it would
still be worth grabbing a feather or two, especially if it settles down and
starts moulting more aggressively, would be silly to leave them sitting on
the ground and second guess the likelihood of them being of any value. There
has been a lot of work done on Gull genetics and I suspect a number of Gull
experts in Europe and elsewhere would be interested to know which migrant
species is actually capable of reaching Australia's western side.

Cheers Jeff.


-----Original Message-----
From: Philip Veerman  
Sent: Wednesday, 23 January 2013 2:58 PM
To: 'Jeff Davies'; 'Chris Corben'; 
Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

It may well be a very good suggestion. However a sample from one bird would
not prove anything. Surely this only works if there is the facility to
compare such a sample to a large number of reference samples of other
(presumably defined and agreed) species. I think large number because there
would likely be variation among individuals (including this one) within
those species and indeed will likely be overlaps between close species, in
the attributes than can be tested for on such methods. Even then, it likely
comes down to statements of probability. My guess is that such testing is
expensive. Are the facilities and resources available and who would pay for
this and what is the justification for expenditure of these funds? I admire
the depth of knowledge of those so familiar with the sea bird
identification. Sorry and apologies if others think so to seem maybe rude to
those who find this so important but beyond the academic exercise, I wonder
what is the issue of importance of this bird here? Are any of the
possibilities being considered, rare species in their normal range (or just
a vagrant in NW Aust). Is the (sub?)/specific identity of such an occurrence
ecologically or otherwise important? The message I get is, it is a vagrant
gull occurring near the coast, there have been others and will be again. The
impression I get from this (and I am not familiar with any of these gulls)
is that these gull species are so close in ecology, behaviour, geography,
appearance and likely genetics, that drawing dividing lines is difficult
even to the most expert. 

Yes I know it is nice to know from a bird watching experience. About 33
years ago I was lucky enough to "twitch" from south Brisbane to north
Brisbane to easily see the Franklin's Gull that Chris and others found and
that was fun. And yes I also know this is far more relevant to this chat
line than my other discussion about word use........  


-----Original Message-----From: 
 On Behalf Of Jeff Davies
Sent: Wednesday, 23 January 2013 12:51 AM       To: 'Chris Corben';
 Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Lesser
Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

A very good suggestion Chris which should be put to George Swann in Broome,
cheers Jeff.

-----Original Message-----From: 
 On Behalf Of Chris Corben
Sent: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 11:39 PM To: 
Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

So has anyone tried to collect some genetic material from it? All you should
need is a dropped feather, or a bit of gull crap or something and there
would be a chance. It probably wouldn't resolve anything quickly, but in the
long term it might. I don't get any strong impression it's going to be
easily resolved  any other way....

Cheers, Chris.


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