Documentation of Lesser Black-backed Gull

Observer Information

Reporter:  Jacob Cooper   
Other Observers:  None;

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Lesser Black-backed Gull
First Date/Time:  2/24/2009
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  Four Minutes
County:  Mesa
Specific Location:  Fruita Monument High School, in the Football Field adjacent to the eastern edge of the northern parking lot, loafing around the north goal post.
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


A Football Field, with short grass that was wet from rain the day before. Located between the endzone and 5 yard line.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Brunton 8x42
Distance:  100 Feet Approximately
Light:  It was foggy, with visibility of about 400 feet. The bird was about 100 feet away, easily seen through the mist. The sun was up enough that the bird could easily be seen, but the sun was obscured so even though it was behind the bird, it didn't hinder the observation.

Description of the Bird

The gull was a large, adult breeding plumage Larus gull. The bill was large, yellow, and possessed a red spot towards the tip with no other markings. The birds mantle was a darkish sooty gray, darker than most gulls, about the same darkness as the illustration of the graellsii in the Sibley Field Guide. The wings had white tips on the outer primaries (the extent was not noted) and the bird's legs were yellowish. The head was clean white.
Behaviors: The gull was observed in a football field on a moist, foggy morning at close distance. It was walking through the grass near some ravens, apparently searching for food in the field. It flew around a goal post once and then resumed its walking. It was approximately the same size as the nearby ravens.
Call: None heard.
Plumage: Adult Breeding

Similar Species Discussion

The birds clean yellow bill with a red spot eliminated Ring-billed and California Gulls. The dark mantle eliminated most other gull species. The legs being yellow eliminated Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls.

Resources Used

Lacking an immediate identification aid, I checked a few hours later and extensively studied Sibley drawings upon my return.

Previous Experience

I have seen almost every possible Larus species in my lifetime, including LBBG in both Ireland with GBBG and in Utah with the American gull species.



Additional Information

Time: 8:56 AM
Other Dates:
Nearest Town: Fruita
Independent Observers:

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

2/24/2009 6:02:00 PM