|The closest I came to the Bonaparte's? A blue-banded Black-headed Gull which was probably at least on nodding terms with the American.|
Fruitless as far as the Bonaparte's was concerned but I did get great views of anadult Thayer's Gull. It's known as Mi-chan apparently, the 'Mi' being the same kanji as in Mie. I got a very brief flight view as it dropped into the middle of a loafing flock and this head shot is the best I could manage.
|I was told by a local guller who looked at this image that this bird is Mi-chan, now into her 10th winter at this site! Another Thayer's that also used to winter regularly no longer does so.|
This is where my claim of a second Thayer's gets slightly tricky. I'm no expert on the local gull population in Mie. Could it be the bird I saw later was also Mi-chan despite believing it looked different? Just I was getting better views?
Well now with hindsight, and importantly further views of Mi-chan, I can answer that question and in fact I was mistaken, I did only see one Thayer's rather than the two I originally thought. These following images are of the same bird.
I was warned by my informant that there is a hybrid resembling a Thayer's in the area (as well as the usual thayeri-type Vegas) and that care is needed. Presumably there are a number of mistaken IDs. I'm aware of the pitfalls, which doesn't mean I'm proficient at avoiding them of course. This next gull does look more of a pitfall to me. Perhaps it's 'the hybrid' I was warned of, though I'm uncertain what kind of hybrid it could be. Perhaps it's just a Vega with an extreme wing-tip pattern, I do see a few Vega with thayeri-type outer primaries though usually not such a good match as this, but other than the pattern of the outer six primaries there's nothing about this gull that looks out of the ordinary for Vega.
|It looked pretty good for a Thayer's coming in like this but that's as good as it got.|
|Once on the ground things soon began to fall apart. It's just a little too big and heavy, those legs are a little long and distinctly pale pink, that bill seems a tad too robust and the saddle a shade or two too darker than I'd like.|
|Perhaps the eye is just a little too pale and the eye ring not purple enough. There's an aggregation of too many not-quite-rights. And isn't the black of the outer primaries in the following two images just a little too black...|