• Thayer's Gull

    Common NameThayer's Gull
    Scientific NameLarus glaucoides thayeri
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation12/23/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameSpencer Hardy
    Mailing Address133 Tucker Hill Rd
    Norwich, VT 05055
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed12/23/2017
    Latitude of Observation44.3111362
    Longitude of Observation-72.7148581
    Place NameGrow Compost
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day11:10 AM
    Length of Time Observed10
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)250
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)200
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Cold rain after 6-10" snow yesterday

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Minox 8x42

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I have seen several Iceland Gulls and thousands of Herring Gulls, this is my first Thayer's. I have been looking closely at HEGU a lot in the past few weeks trying to find the GLGU that has been seen in Burlington

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    An active compost faculty in the woods along the Winooski river. This is a reliable place for large gulls during the winter. 17 HEGU, 6 GBBG, and 1 immature ICGU present during this observation. No RBGU seen.

    Behaviors Observed

    Only seen while perched on the top of the barn roof in a line with several adult Herring Gulls. Watched as it took off, then it was lost in the mix

    Description of Vocalizations

    None definitely coming from this bird

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    This guy struck me as different as soon as it landed, and I watched it on and off for 10 mins before it flew. While perched I could not see the wing tips or legs, though both were seen briefly as it took off.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Slightly smaller than nearby HEGU


    Head was more rounded than HEGU, reminding me of RBGU, or as I first was hoping Mew Gull. Head generally white, with fewer markings than nearby HEGU. The most apparent streaking was on the sides of the lower neck. The eye stuck out as different than that of the HEGU. It was smaller and appeared all dark, though a few times I thought I saw a slightly less than black tinge. At the distance of this observation, all the other HEGU (~5) nearby had big, bright yellow irises with visible red orbital rings.

    Feet & Bill

    Legs pink, bill yellow but noticeably smaller and more slender than HEGU. The red spot on the bill was present but much less obvious than on the HEGU.

    Upper Back

    Medium gray, similar to HEGU

    Lower Back & Rump

    Not seen


    Medium gray with black tips, I didn't notice how extensive the black was, as the wing tips were only visible for a second in flight

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts



    Not seen

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Nominate Iceland (and Kumlien's) Gulls would have pale wing tips and lighter backs. The vast majority of HEGU have pale eyes and the head and bill shape of this bird were what first attracted my attention in direct comparison to HEGU. Would be great if someone else can get photos of the wing tips/underside of the wings.

    Other Notes & Comments


    This report was written from notes taken:Immediately After

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