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December 2010


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Scott Loss <[log in to unmask]>
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Scott Loss <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Dec 2010 15:48:42 -0700
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I checked a few vantage points of the Mississippi River in South St. Paul this afternoon, hoping to find a small pinkish gull (but to no avail).  The one bird of note was an adult Iceland Gull - probably the same one previously reported at Kaposia landing a week or more ago.  It was re-located today on the river immediately south of the 494 bridge (google maps shows the access road as Verderosa Ave.).  Many will remember this as the Ross's Gull spot from 3 years back.  The Iceland gull was with a group of mostly Herrings and a few ring-billed gulls.

I had to watch the gull for a long time as it was showing fieldmarks of both Iceland and Thayer's gulls.  For example, the primaries were slaty gray from above, slightly darker than a typical adult Iceland (but lighter than the Thayer's gulls I've seen), and with good fairly close looks, I am pretty certain that this bird has a dark iris.  Nonetheless, the head shape, bill size, complete absence of streaking (ie pure white) on the head, and pure white primaries from below, made me arrive at Iceland Gull, though I suppose a hybrid with Thayer's is always possible.  

There were many gulls in flight visible (but not identifiable) farther to the south of this location, so it should be a good spot to keep watching for other winter gulls.  If you go, please be careful of the construction truck traffic and railroad crossing both directly underneath the 494 bridge.

Scott Loss
St. Paul


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