Not an Iceland Gull at Mayport

A white gull was reported from Mayport Boat Ramp a day or two ago, and was not accompanied by a photo. A resident “bird guide” (that actually charges people money to see/find birds) chased it and photographed it yesterday morning…and also reported it as an Iceland Gull. That caused a flurry of others to chase it as well, including a couple of self-professed “experienced birders” (the same people that love to argue with me on reports and identification challenges, and never admit a mistake). Well, they reported it also as an Iceland and actually paraphrased field guides as to why this was an Iceland Gull and not a Glaucous Gull (which it is also not; this is a Laughing Gull). Was anyone actually looking at this bird, or just in a hurry to check it off their year or life list? The closest it comes to an Iceland Gull is that it’s white. It resembles an Iceland in almost no other way, most notably the diminutive size and the shape of the bill.

A non-Iceland Gull in Duval County. 1 Oct 2017.

I have to admit that I took a little pleasure in pointing out a mistake like this to a couple of people that are so rude, belligerent, and insistent on their reported birds. Just goes to show you that we all make mistakes, fall into “group think”, rely on others to ID a bird, and blow a call even when the bird is right in front of you and is well photographed. I’ll still give the benefit of the doubt I suppose, as it might be difficult when you’re looking at a life bird and you have no experience with a species. I’ve seen enough Icelands over the years (12 in Duval County alone) to know the size immediately discards this particular bird from the deck. Yes..it’s a cool bird nonetheless, and I took the ferry over today to see it.

Other than that, I haven’t been out in the woods this fall migration for the first time in forever. Work and school are kicking my tail, but I’m in the midst of finishing my Master’s thesis. Two more months and I’ll be done with school forever and can get back to birding. I’ll leave you with this Yellow Warbler from my backyard this morning.

2 thoughts on “Not an Iceland Gull at Mayport”

  1. People who read your report might be wondering. For those people who thought this was an iceland and not a glaucous, could you give reasons, other than size, that you know it to be an iceland?

    1. Is neither an Iceland nor a Glaucous. It’s a Laughing Gull. Size is a great indicator, as well as the structure of the bill and pretty much everything else…head shape, forehead angle, etc. The “belligerent ones” described an Iceland in great detail in their ebird report based on a (plaigiarized) field guide description and clearly weren’t even questioning this bird in the field. Of course now they deleted that comment and make it appear that they always knew it was a Laughing. Maybe they learned a good lesson though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *