What can we learn from this one?
Thanks to Nick for these intriguing photos. I am pretty sure these guys at Scilly Pelagics will have some thoughts. 🙂 Surely it’s a strong possibility that Atlantic Fulmars sometimes reach the Pacific- and it must be possible the other way round too!
I observed this Fulmar on 16 September 2015, northwest of Point Barrow (72 34.526, -161 12.527), Alaska, while conducting bird surveys for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This bird stuck out to me because a) it was the only fulmar that I had seen that day while conducting surveys in the area, b) it was a much darker color morph than any that I’d seen in recent days while in the Chukchi, c) the color of the bird was much more olive/blue-gray than the browner-gray dark morph birds I had seen in the northern Bering and southern Chukchi, and d) after reviewing photos I noticed that it had a relatively concolorous rump and tail, which from my limited knowledge, might suggest a non-Pacific subspecies of northern fulmar, such as F. g. glacialis.
After doing a little research on the matter it appears that there are indeed some Pacific birds that can show a concolorous rump/tail and I am not sure what other characteristics are indicative of an Atlantic bird, or if my photos are good enough to show that.
All the best,