Thursday, 8 March 2018

Thayerish Gull - A Boring but True Story + Mini Rant

Thayer's Gull was recently demoted from full species status by the American Ornithologist Union. I think this was a mistake. The real Thayer's Gull breeding in the western Arctic is surely a different species than the white wing tipped Iceland Gulls breeding in Greenland. The population of Kumlien's Gull breeding in the middle, perhaps larger than the population of either Thayer's or Iceland Gull, is the problem.  I am in the popular camp that the Kumlien's Gull is a population of hybrid Iceland x Thayer's Gulls. I am not a scientist so I am not bothered by DNA or rules of provable species distinctions.  Thayer's Gull and Iceland Gull just feel like different species to me. The Kumlien's Gulls are T'weeners = hybrids.  I can live with that. Just like people in eastern North America deal with Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler and their hybrid forms named Brewster's and Lawrence's Warblers. Two distinct species and some interesting looking hybrids in between

The problem with identifying a bona fide pure blood Thayer's Gull in Newfoundland is that with literally thousands of hybrid Thayer's X Iceland Gull = Kumlien's Gull around there is going to be every gradation of field marks between the two species including some that might be close to identical to a classic Thayer's Gull or Iceland Gull.  I have some personal experience with bona fide Thayer's Gulls on breeding grounds in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, and in the NWT, especially Inuvik during spring and fall migration. I always got the same feel from these birds being a little more Herring Gull like in build and demeanor.  To my senses they seem more closely related to Herring Gull than Iceland Gull.

My take on seeing a Thayer's Gull in Newfoundland is that it is near impossible to know even if the wingtip pattern meets the criteria for Thayer's. Typically such birds appear like Kumlien's Gull in shape and may have a less than dark eye. Of course some Thayer's are known have palish eyes.  The arguments become impossible and a waste of time because there is no cut off line where you can say this is definitely Thayer's or just a Kumlien's.  

The bird below would pass all the Thayer's wing tip tests.  It seems small headed and has a only half dark iris.  It has the wingtips of a Thayer's but a body of a Kumlien's to my way of thinking.

These photo below are from 5 March 2018 at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John's, Newfoundland.


Note purplish-red orbital ring typical of both Thayer's and Iceland but different than the yellow-orange of Herring Gull. The iris is heavily speckled and about average for Kumlien's Gull but paler than most Thayer's Gulls.

The dark subterminal band on P10, continuous dark leading web on P9 and the dark mark on P5 are the most important features when deciding on a Thayer's Gull. Having all three key marks on the same bird plus plenty of dark gray on inner webs of P10 and P9 make this a perfect Thayer's Gull wing tip pattern.















MARCH 24 2006
The gull below was watched by Jared Clarke and I at the St. John's dump on 24 March 2006.  The sheer size and strong build of this bird plus the very dark eye scream out Thayer's Gull according my standards which are not perfected or universally accepted by any means. It fed among the Herring Gulls in the garbage unlike the very few Kumlien's Gulls that entered the landfill back in those days and sat back around the fringe rarely actually going into the main feeding area.  The wingtip pattern just makes it into the legal Thayer's range. There was a small dark mark on P5 that is washed out in this slightly over exposed blurry flight shot.   This is one of just two or three gulls in the St. John's area that I had a good feeling was a pure Thayer's Gull after 35 years of gull watching.









5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. EDWARD JONES FINANCE IS THE BEST PLACE TO GET A LOAN {Jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com},
    God bless you sir, I will not stop telling the world about your kindness in my life, I am a single mum with kids to look after. My name is Emily Thomas and I am from Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL . A couple of weeks ago My friend visited me and along our discussion she told me about EDWARD JONES FINANCE, that they can help me out of my financial situation, I never believed cause I have spend so much money on different loan lenders who did nothing other than running away with my money. I have been in a financial mess for the pass 7 months now, She advised I give it a try so I mailed him and explain all about my financial situation to him, he therefore took me through the loan process and gave me a loan of $390,000.00 at a very low interest rate of 2% and today I am a proud business owner and can now take good care of my kids, If you must contact any firm to get any amount of loan you need with a low interest rate of 2% and better repayment schedule, please contact EDWARD JONES FINANCE email:- {Jonesloanfinance@yahoo.com} OR Text +1(307) 217-5388

    ReplyDelete
  4. DO NOT KEEP YOUR FINANCIAL BURDEN TO YOURSELF CONTACT US NOW FOR ANY KIND OF LOAN AT A LOW INTEREST OF 2%.( prosperloanfirm@yahoo.com )

    Our loans are well insured for maximum security is our priority, Our leading goal is to help you get the service you deserve, Our Loan program is the quickest. We give out loan in any currency of your choice {Us Dollar, pounds, Euro, Dinar, etc} and duration of 1 to 60 years to pay back the loan (secure and unsecured).

    Do you need any kind of loan and have low credit score, Have you find it difficult to get loans
    from local banks and other financial institutions? solution to your financial problem is PROSPER LOAN FIRM. The terms and conditions are very reasonable and considerate.

    We offer a wide range of financial services which includes: Xmas Loans, Business Loans, Debt Consolidation Loans, Personal Loans, Car loans, Hotel loans, Student loans, Home Refinancing Loans with low interest rate @2% per annul for individuals, companies and corporate bodies.

    Interested applicants should Contact us via email: prosperloanfirm@yahoo.com
    OR call/text +1(816) 366-8769 . Apply and be free from financial bondage........

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good-day, I'm Josef Lewis. A reputable, legitimate & accredited lender. We give out loan of all kinds in a very fast and easy way, Personal Loan, Car Loan, Home Loan, Student Loan, Business Loan, Inventor loan, Debt Consolidation. etc

    Get approved for a business or personal loans today and get funds within same week of application. These personal loans can be approved regardless of your credit and there are lots of happy customers to back up this claim. But you won’t only get the personal loan you need; you will get the cheapest one. This is our promise: We guarantee The lowest rate for all loans with free collateral benefits.

    We strive to leave a positive lasting impression by exceeding the expectations of my customers in everything I do. Our goal is to treat you with dignity and respect while providing the highest quality service in a timely manner. No social security Number required and no credit check required, 100% Guaranteed. Kindly respond immediately using the details below if interested in a loan and be free of scams..

    Email: progresiveloan@yahoo.com
    Call/Text +1(603) 786-7565 thanks



    ReplyDelete