Saturday, October 6, 2012

Vega photos

Sorry for the limited action... Didn't auto-post anything before I left, and can't write anything.. Anyways, a bit of internet here, so I'll post the pics of this sweet bird that Kevin McLaughlin found at Pelee on Sep 29th! (Still around today)


  1. Hi, Just came to your blog via Surfbirds. Get to see plenty of Vega here in the Republic of Korea (including half a dozen yesterday, and peak day counts of several thousand), but respectfully cannot seem to see anything obviously vega-like in any of the above images. Okay to ask what are the features being used to ID this bird?

    Best wishes and birding,

    Nial Moores

    1. Hey Nial,

      Everything seemed to fit Vega, based on our knowledge...

      Darker mantle, deep pink legs, pink orbital ring, dark eye, long colourful bill with a "frown" look and exceptionally delayed molt (compared to our Herring Gulls) seemed right on the money... The molt is especially interesting to me, as it still retains mostly alternate plumage, with only 1-2 primaries dropped (inners)... Whereas virtually none of our local birds have any remaining primaries, and are now finishing growing P6-P10

      We also have a lot of experience(relatively) with Herring X Lesser BB (one adult was present nearby) and Herring X Great BB, and we agreed that we typically have little trouble in picking these birds out as such - whereas this bird gave us no indication of any other "Black-backed Gull" genetics being present.

      Just a quick rundown here.. I'm sure Kevin's report to the OBRC will be much more detailed! What makes you think it looks wrong for Vega?

      Will add a link to the first Ontario record, which we felt it shared many/most features with:


    2. Hi Brandon,

      Its always difficult to judge shades and colours from images, perhaps esp. in gulls, but this bird looks too dark-saddled to me (with even some brownish tones admixed in the dark grey?) and shows too bright a gonys spot and bill colour (things we would usually associate with a taimyrensis). The tiny-eyed, thin-legged, deep-breasted look is also something that just does not ring any "vega-bells" with me. Most Vega are scruffy, ill-proportioned, and slant-backed - untidy looking and all the more beautiful for it!

      if you have any flight shots would be interested to see them some time (yes, many adult Vega are only moulting inner primaries here at present, as it seems are some taimyrensis: latter though remain rather more poorly understood than Vega for several reasons).


  2. Brandon,

    Question regarding OBRC reports on such birds. Marianne Balkwill and I also saw this bird later in the same day it was seen by many off the Tip. I got some iScoped photos (show mantle colour and minor details of plumage) but they are not as good as other photos that have been taken.

    So my question is, is it still worthwhile to submit an OBRC report despite the fact that Kevin will obviously submit a FAR FAR superior report? I've been trying to submit reports for each review list species I've had this year but wonder if it makes sense to do so if it doesn't really add any useful information.