Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-32

Common name:

Laughing Gull

Scientific name: Leucophaeus atricilla
Date: 08/14/2020
Time: 9:40
Length of time observed: 30 seconds
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Willard Bay State Park
County: Box Elder
Distance to bird: 20-150ft
Optical equipment: 10X50 vortex binoculars
Weather: sunny, clear, no wind
Light Conditions: sunny
Description:        Size of bird: Ring-billed Gull
(Description:)       Basic Shape: gull
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: white belly, dark back, black wingtips
(Description:)            Bill Type: gull-like, some what thick
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Flyover; first seen from the front, then from behind. Head had dark hood, bill was dark. Belly, tail, and underwings were white. Back was dark, and wing tips were jet black, no windows or other markings. The wings were also quite pointed.
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Flying low from berm of bay to Phragmites
Habitat: Wetland
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Dark hood eliminated California and Ring-billed Gull; size, bill shape, and tail eliminated terns; size also eliminated Bonaparte's Gull. Was too large for Sabine's Gull and lacked the white triangle wing window. Slightly larger than Franklin's Gull with larger bill, slower wing beats, and all dark, pointed primaries with no white tips.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Familiar with Bonaparte's, Sabine's, and Franklin's in Utah to see that this was different, have also encountered this bird in Florida & North Carolina
References consulted: Gulls Simplified, and other field guides
Description from: From memory
Observer: Ian Batterman
Observer's address:  
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Unfortunately, I was so preoccupied trying to look at its field marks that I failed to alert the others in my party...I was worried I'd lose sight of the bird as it eventually disappeared into the Phrag
Date prepared: 08/17/20
Additional material: No_additional_Materials
Additional comments: