3cy smith look-alike/candidate? , Iceland

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Stefan
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:28 am

3cy smith look-alike/candidate? , Iceland

Post by Stefan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:33 pm

Alex Máni saw this gull in Þorlákshöfn, SW-Iceland on the 14th of October. It is liklely to be a retarded 2nd winter re e.g. based on the pale bill tip, smooth greater coverts, and what could be some grey feathers on the upper rump and possibly mantle (this is only seen in the flight photos). It has many features that are similar to smith look-alikes and others that are not that common among these (e.g. all black secondaries and inconspicuous inner primary window). The upperparts appear to be quite smooth, considering it is a second winter bird. The barring of the upper and under tail coverts is very dense, with only minimal amount of white shining through. The outer most tail feathers have pale edges, which is not a problem for a 2nd winter Smith. While comparing 1st winter Icelandic Smith-lookalikes with photos of american herring gulls, there is one features that almost never matches that of the american herring gulls at similar age and is the smoothness of the underparts. The underparts of the lookalikes are always a bit more blotchy/uneven compared to most?/many? (clearly there are exceptions there as well) american herring gulls, and this applies to this gull as well. I need at some stage examine this feature in more detail. Clearly, 2nd winter Smiths can be a bit blotchier underparts compared to first winter, making such comparison harder between the two species. In conclusion, although this gull has a number of features suggesting an american herring gull, I think it will be hard to conclusively argue it is a Smith and probably more likely to be a Smith look-alike. Especially the underparts have a high resemblence of an european herring gull.
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