Black-tailed Gull, Larus crassirostris, Charlotte Town Beach, Charlotte, Chittenden Co., VT, 23 October 2005.
All pictures were taken by Jay and McGowan and are © Jay W. McGowan and Kevin J. McGowan. They were taken with an Olympus D-40 or Sony Cybershot digital camera through a Swarovski ATS-80 or HD80 spotting scope.
Discovered on 18 October 2005 by Julie Hart and identified by Matt Medler, this rare Asian gull put on quite a show for birders on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. We photographed it on a dreary Sunday five days later. On the previous night it flew out into the lake to roost, but unfortunately for us, did not go anywhere near New York waters.
Note the dark horizontal lines through the tertials, wing coverts, and scapulars. These appear to me to be fault bars, indicating a fairly severe nutritional stress encountered while growing these feathers. Such strong fault bars on so many feathers, while commonly seen in hatch-year birds, are rare in adult birds in my experience. To me they suggest that this adult-looking bird had a hard time this last summer, but I guess we could have figured that out just by where he ended up in the fall.
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