Stopped at Princeton Sewage Ponds over lunch hour to check for open 

Surprised to see a gull with the following characteristics:

* Larger size than near by Ring-gilled, but not as large as Herring

* Dark mantle (which immediately drew my attention).

* Dark underwings, particularly along the left edge as it flew left to right

* However, whiter head and dark bill edge.

Color was very difficult to determine against the white sky & background, 
which made leg/edge of bill color troublesome.

Lesser Black-backed seems to be my best option, although I'd expect a bit 
more coloration on the head with a darker bill for second or third winter - 
or more apparent red on the bill with a white head for breeding adult - 
unless there is another transitional type?  The gull was too large and too 
white on the head for Bonaparte's/Franklin's/Laughing, but nowhere near 
large enough for Great Black-backed.  I suppose Slaty-backed is a 
possibility, although didn't appear that large to me (bear in mind, I've 
seen one Slaty-backed in 16 years).  Other dark mantled gulls would be even 
more remote statistically.

I welcome thoughts.  The look was only a minute or so long, which included 
time to break out the scope.  Observed on the ice and in flight.

Ducks are beginning to arrive, but we're just at the beginning of the 

Send us some non-standard geese!  Snow, Ross', GWF and Cackling are tough 
finds in the area currently.

Good birding to all!

Al Schirmacher
Princeton, MN
Mille Lacs & Sherburne Counties 

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