Slaty-backed Gull

The Young’uns

With the recent stunning/ gripping/Oh flip why can’t I find one… adult Slaty-backed Gull found by Derek Charles and Majella Callaghan Killybegs in co Donegal the question goes:

How to identify young birds as surly they are at least as likely to occur.

eBird map of Slaty-backed Gull sightings. More to come!

eBird map of Slaty-backed Gull sightings. More to come!


Thanks to Julian Hough we posted about a candidate first winter Slaty-backed gull in Connecticut, USA a couple of years ago. Well a paper just out gives that bird a thumbs up as good looking Slaty. So here’s that bird again. Story and more photos on Julian’s website

The 9000 word paper!! is entitled

Vagrancy and Identification of first-cycle Slaty-backed Gull

and can found in the Nov/ Dec 2014 edition of the ABA’s ‘Birding’ magazine.

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6 thoughts on “Slaty-backed Gull

  1. Andrew Tongue

    Hi Martin. The paper ‘just out’ that you mention – can you give the details (mag / journal, date etc) please? Is it the American Birding Association mag pictured above? If so, I admit I’d be more interested in the ‘Birding with Daryl Hannah’ article!

  2. Suzanne Sullivan

    Hello Martin,
    Thought you and other folks might find this interesting. I photographed this same bird about 100 miles north In Wilmington Massachusetts about a month later. When I searched photos for 1st year SBGU on line I got hits of the Conn. bird. I almost died when I saw it for it looked almost exactly like mine. The clincher was the red paint on the tail feathers and the dark (replacement?) center tail feather. My photos show a more faded bird, so the concerns Peter had about the faded coverts may not be as much of a concern to eliminate SBGU. I just finally submitted my sightings to the Mass. Record Committee this week. One very interesting feature on this bird is the “ghost” of the “string of pearls” on the open wing shot. If interested here is the link to a gallery of this awesome gull.
    I have another candidate this year here. Note the time of year these were taken, Nov. and Dec. Very faded for a first year bird and in one months time the bird really faded out more. Interestingly enough this bird also has a replacement (?) center tail feather (R1?). I may submit this also but have not sent around yet for any opinions. We must crack the 1st year SBGU ID nut! Very tricky indeed. You know they are out there!
    Thank for all your work. So you know how far reaching your work goes…..I also submitted my 1st year YLGU to the record committee this week we sent you last spring. I used your article on ID’ing YLGU as back-up documentation. Your paper is the best one I could find out there. If they accept it it will be the first 1st year in North America. We’ll see!
    Suzanne Sullivan


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