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Alviso Gulls, 2001

Large Pale Gull

The first day of the New Year brought me Santa Clara species number 182 with Thayer’s gull at Palo Alto Baylands. I had more than one again on the 26th at the Environmental Education Center plus a gull that I was desperate not to be a herring gull:

“This lunchtime the gulls were obligingly perched along the levee at the end of the boardwalk. So I got close to them and easily picked out what looked like the first-winter glaucous gull that has been reported there. However, it did not show any bill pattern nor did it seem any bigger than the surrounding herring gulls. There’s a suggestion that an Iceland gull may be in the area. Could this be it?

“Otherwise I had fun separating first-year Thayer’s and glaucous-winged gulls and I began to wonder where all the first-year herrings were. It seemed strange given that the bulk of the adults, and the group was mostly adult, were herring gulls.

“Now at home and with my field guides, I see there is so much variation in gulls’ sizes that I can imagine glaucous being as large as a herring gull. The lack of tip to the bill is still kinda weird though…”

Honesty prevailed; I logged neither glaucous nor Iceland gull and the county list remained at 184 (in the interim I’d also added grey phalarope at Los Gatos Creek Park and red-throated diver at Shoreline).

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