Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-005

Common name:

Kumlien's Iceland Gull

Scientific name: Larus [glaudoides] kumlieni
Date: 2/25/14
Time: 1:00 PM
Length of time observed: 5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Lee Kay Ponds
County: Salt Lake
Distance to bird:  
Optical equipment: Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED Spotting Scope Straight Body with 25-75X Zoom Eyepiece
Weather: Sunny
Light Conditions: Full Mid-day sun
Description:        Size of bird: Similar in size to nearby California Gulls
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Gull on Water
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: White body with light gray mantle
(Description:)            Bill Type: Gull bill, with red spot
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Mid-sized gull, similar, if perhaps a touch smaller than nearby CAGUs. Adult bird. Bill with one red spot, lightish eye, light mantle, primaries nearly the same color as the mantle.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: Swimming on water
Habitat: Marsh/Pond
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
I noted this gull swimming with the California Gulls on the far side of the pond. The first thing that stuck out for me was the lighter mantle and then the light primaries. I was intending to re-find a previously reported GWGU, so I was on the lookout for light primaries! I watched this bird as it swam around, keeping a close eye on the primaries to make sure that their light appearance wasn't an effect of the bright mid-day lighting conditions. As it swam around and changed angles, the primaries never popped--they remained a light gray, just one shade darker than the mantle. I also watched the nearby CAGUs to compare their dark primaries as they reflected in the light; this was definitely different. I ruled out RBGU because there was no apparent black on the bill, and HERG due to size (in addition to the light primaries.) Size and eye color (light) ruled out GWGU. Color of primaries and overall size also ruled out THGU.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
First time seeing an adult Iceland, however I am familiar with THGU and HERG.
References consulted: Peterson Reference Guide Gulls of the Americas by Howell and Dunn
Description from: From memory
Observer: Stephanie Greenwood
Observer's address: 90 W 500 S #513
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 2/26/15
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: NNINA