[Tweeters] Possible SLATY-BACKED GULL Sept 7 - Tacoma

Matthew Pike hoodedcrow3b at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 8 21:16:03 PDT 2013

Hi Tweets,
I had a similar looking gull at Gog-le-hi-te on 8/25 at about 2:40pm in the same spot described by Carol, but have been too lazy to write about it, sorry.
The bird I observed most certainly had a pale eye but otherwise fits Carol's description. I did see it ok in flight, its primaries are being molted with the outer 4-5 feathers being pretty worn and not showing any white tips, though p10 had a significant window stretching across both veins. The newer, inner primaries had sizeable white tips.
The only things that I came up with that don't scream Slaty-backed are the time of year, and the bird seemed a little smaller to me than the glaucous-winged gulls nearby. 
I managed one picture with my phone through my scope - http://www.pbase.com/hoodedcrow/goglehitegull
I recommend not overlooking the gulls near the Port of Tacoma if you are headed that way.
BTW, at the marsh today (9/8) that I thought were interesting; as mentioned by Ryan there was a Say's Phoebe at least until 4pm, a Pectoral Sandpiper among a few least and one western, and 5 Horned Larks.
Good birding to all,
Matt Pike
Redmond WA
hoodedcrow3b at yahoo.com

From: Carol & Lynn Schulz <carol.schulz50 at gmail.com>
To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Saturday, September 7, 2013 6:42 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Possible SLATY-BACKED GULL Sept 7 - Tacoma

Hello Tweeters:
There is a possible SLATY-BACKED
GULL that was at the Gog-le-hi-te Wetland in Tacoma today, Sat, Sept
7.  Last year, Sept 18, 2012 my sister and I were at the Gog, and saw the
probable bird that was later ID'd as a Slaty-backed Gull.  I reported
it to Tweeters at that time as an unidentified gull w/ extremely dark mantle and
primaries.  Last year we saw it on the roof of one of the bldgs. across
Lincoln Ave from the Gog.  Today, I saw an extremely dark-mantled
gull in the first pond.  At 11:00am I walked out on the road that goes to
the river from the parking lot.  It was almost low tide.  Down in the
pond in the grasses and wet spots, was the gull walking around, often back into
tall grass.  It stayed away from the Gl-winged Gulls. 
Here is a description of the
Very dark mantle and primaries.  Same
size as a nearby Gl-winged Gull.  No
mottling on head, so no
distinctive "mascara".  The head was entirely white.  Bill was
straight, thin,
pale yellow, w/ red-orange gonydial spot.  Not much of
a gonys angle.  Legs
are pink, not rosy.  Long thick neck, and
large breast.  Broad white tertial
crescent.  Eye appeared dark to
me.  (It should have been light in color per the books.)  Pink
orbital ring.
I observed the bird as it moved around, but when it finally
flew a short
distance, I couldn't observe the wing pattern well.  20
minutes later it
flew off toward the back pond, but again I couldn't see the
wing tip pattern
well enough for an ID.
When I walked to the back pond
the bird wasn't back there any more.  The bird looks a
lot like the
photos Mike Charest took last year of a Slaty-backed Gull Oct 8,
2012.  (Except for
dark-appearing eye this year.)  Mike posted
that msg to Tweeters on Oct 9.
Gog-le-hi-te is in Tacoma, WA.  Get off
at the Portland Ave. exit in Tacoma. Go north (toward the bay) to Lincoln
Ave. and make a right (east) at the light. After crossing the river the
Gog-le-hi-te Marsh is on the south (right). There is a small parking lot a
little further. The rest of the area is industrial.  You can also walk back
to a second pond which is almost under the hwy 509 overpass.  The
"ponds" are actually inlets from the Puyallup River and are tidally
I hope someone sees this bird and can get a
Yours, Carol Schulz
Des Moines,
Tweeters mailing list
Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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