Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-01

Common name:

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus
Date: January 5, 2004
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Length of time observed: 40 min.
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Location: Bountiful Landfill
County: Davis
Distance to bird: ~150 yards
Optical equipment: Kowa TSN-823 Spotting Scope 20-60 Zoom Eyepiece
Weather: Clear, cold, and mostly calm.
Light Conditions: Full Sun.
Detailed description of bird: Mantle was darker than all the other gulls in the group (a little darker than the nearby California Gulls).
Larger than the Ring-billed Gulls. Close in size to the California Gulls (it was hard to tell the exact size difference).
Brownish streaking on head and nape (heaviest on crown and around eye) but white on the front of the head around the bill.
Yellow bill with large bright red spot near tip of lower mandible crossing onto bottom of upper mandible (No black on bill).
Bright yellow legs.
Yellow Iris.
Tail, breast and belly clean white. Black primaries. 
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Spent most of the time sleeping on the ice with a large group of Gulls. Then spent a few minutes preening. Then the group of gulls flew. We never saw it in flight and we couldn’t relocate it.
Habitat: Iced over ponds near an open landfill.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
California Gull has a dark iris and black on the bill. Compared to the nearby California Gulls the this gull looked darker mantled (The mantle didn’t contrast with the primaries quite as much as on the California Gulls). Legs looked brighter yellow than nearby California Gulls.
Herring Gull has pink legs and much lighter mantle. This gull also looked less bulky (a little smaller and thinner) than the nearby Herring Gulls.
Great Black-backed Gull is much larger with less streaking on head and pink legs.
Western and Slaty-backed Gulls are larger with pink legs.
Yellow-legged Gull has less streaking on head and paler mantle.
Yellow-footed Gull is larger with less streaking on head.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I saw the reported possible 3rd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Bountiful Landfill in Jan. 2001. I have no
other experience with this gull. 
I have seen many Herring, Ring-billed and California Gulls.
I have seen a few Western Gulls in Washington and a few Greater Black-backed Gulls in Main, Mass, and Ontario.
I have no experience with Yellow-legged, Yellow-footed, or Slaty-backed Gulls.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, National Geographic Field Guide,
and P.J. Grants Gulls a guide to Identification.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N Pleasant Grove, UT 84062
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: KC Childs
Date prepared: 1-5-04    (General Public)
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Photos were taken by holding a digital camera to
the spotting scopes eyepiece. Photos have been cropped and resized.