Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 01-2002

Common name:

Black-legged Kittiwake

Scientific name: Rissa tridactyla
Date: 01-05-02
Time: 0910-0935 and 1100-1215
Length of time observed: total of 1 hour 40 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Ivins Reservoir
County: Washington County
Latilong: 13
Elevation: ~ 3100 feet
Distance to bird: ranging from 3 to 100 meters
Optical equipment: Leica 10 x 42 binoculars, Kowa TSN 823 scope
Weather: calm and clear
Light Conditions: full sunlight
Detailed description of bird: Relatively small gull (slightly smaller than Ring-billed Gull) and very active. Head: white with dark mark behind eye fading into grey on the nape. Eye: dark. Bill: completely yellow/green. Legs: black. Wings: grey mantle, pale edge on secondaries, very pale primaries, black tip (no white visible in flight, very small white spots near tip visible when sitting on water). Underwings: very pale with black tip. Tail: white, slightly forked with squarish sides. Underside: white breast, belly and vent.
Song or call & method of delivery: silent
Behavior: very active, flying around the reservoir (bouyant flight), gleaning food (dead green sunfish) from water surface. Occasionally landed on water surface to rest, and swim along the edge of the reservoir foraging.
Habitat: Small reservoir
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Red-legged Kittiwake: eliminated by black legs (rather than red), pale primaries and pale white underwing (rather than grey).

Bonaparte's Gull: superficially resembled winter Bonaparte's Gull, however eliminated by larger size and yellowish green bill, black legs, and upper wing pattern.

Previous experience with this & similar species: Limited, however, Kevin Wheeler and I observed and studied a perched adult in winter plumage at Doheny Beach State Park, CA, in February, 2001.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell, Steve and Priscilla Summers, Bob Showler
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, Utah
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Kevin Wheeler and Steve Hedges also observed this bird on 01-05-02
Date prepared: 01-07-02  (permission: public)
Additional material: Photo
Additional Comments: Description is from field notes and sketch completed while viewing the bird. Steve Summers videotaped the kittiwake and I took some photographs.

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