Another "yellow-legged" Gull

North Truro, Massachusetts - 18 January 2009

Web page created by Blair Nikula (1/18/2009)

This adult gull was among a large aggregation (900+) of gulls roosting on the ice at Pilgrim Lake in North Truro on 18 January 2009. The size (roughly equal to the adjacent Herring Gulls), mantle color, and yellow legs and feet (much yellower than they appear in the photos below), indicate the bird was either a Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) or a Lesser Black-backed X Herring Gull hybrid. The white head with very little streaking (primarily around the eye and on the nape) should be atypical for a hybrid at this season, but the streaking on the nape is supposedly atypical for Yellow-legged. Distinguishing between these two possibilities requires close examination, at the very least, and is probably not possible given my rather distant view and these poor quality images.

All images were taken at a considerable distance (approx. 150 meters) in very poor light and a steady rain with a Canon 40D camera and Canon 100-400mm IS lens, and have been cropped to a considerable degree.

The following photo best represents the leg color, though even in this shot the color falls short of how it appeared in the field. Note that the legs on the other gulls are very drab and colorless in these shots, in contrast to the typically fleshy-pink color they showed in the field.