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September 9th, 2014

Gull at Lake Cochise

I met New Jersey birder Daniel Brill at Santa Rita Lodge today, and he showed me a couple of photos of a ‘very large, dark-backed’ gull that he watched in flight at Lake Cochise on Monday 8 September. The sighting was during bad weather at around 1:00 pm, and the bird departed after about two minutes.

His photos looked rather interesting, but Daniel won’t be able to share them until at least Sunday, so I took a couple of bad photos of the images on Daniel’s camera. These are exactly as they came off my phone, just reduced in size a little. Click on the images to enlarge them.



What do you think it is? Leave a message below…


6 comments to Gull at Lake Cochise

  • Woody Hume

    soon as I read the posting on the listserv I thought, hmmmmm, that sounds like a Yellow-footed Gull from the Gulf of California! Then looked in the Sibley–he shows an immature bird at the top of the page that is excitingly similar to your pics. I saw the species down on the coast of Sonora once, and I see on Sibley’s range map for it that it wanders in late summer to Salton Sea, and has been recorded much further afield in the Southwest than that–but not to southeast Arizona, yet!

    Very nice of you to do this.

    A birding compadre-in-mayhem had already planned to go to Lake Cochise this Sunday, we’ll keep a sharp eye …

    Woody in Cascabel

  • Debi

    An immature albatross?

  • Debi

    A variant of a black footed albatross?

  • John Hirth

    second year Lesser Black-backed Gull

  • Scott Olmstead

    I’m no gull expert but I’m leaning toward first-cycle Lesser Black-backed. Whatever it is, it’s exciting! If you get the link to the original photos, can you forward to me??? Thanks for posting.

  • Richard

    Firstly, thanks to everyone for pitching in. The consensus among those who posted here, on the Arizona Birding Facebook page, and elsewhere online, is that this is indeed a Lesser Black-backed Gull, an extremely rare bird but one that is apparently increasing. There are only two previously accepted records for Arizona, but four more are pending, and all of these have been since 2006. Here are the original photos from Daniel, on the AZFO website:

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