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California Gull - Larus californicus
First-years


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California Gull; 2nd winter, Roberts Lake, Monterey 11th March 2007

A variable mid sized gull species, California Gull in first-year plumage varies from very dark and dingy looking birds to paler individuals.

However consistencies in plumage, bare part characters and overall jizz are apparent.
First-winter California Gull, Roberts Lake, Monterey, California, USA November 2009
A dark individual. Note the pale based, dark tipped bill; the dipped in ink appearance. The head is pale and contrasts with the most of the rest of the plumage.
First-winter California Gull, Salinas River Mouth, Monterey, California, USA November 2009
A typical individual with more uniform head and under-parts. Again, as with the previous bird, note the striking bill pattern. Here with a larger, bulkier and darker first-winter Western Gull.
First-winter California Gull, Goat Rock Beach, Jenner, California, USA November 2009
A pale individual. The bill is pale pink with black tip; the tertials are dark brown with white tips and the greater coverts are solid dark brown at the bases on the outer featers creating a contrasting dark band across the wing.
First-winter California Gull, Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo, California, USA November 2009
A typical individual, note the difference in the scapular pattern to the previous birds, here transverse bars and anchor marks are obvious.
First-winter California Gull, Goat Rock Beach, Jenner, California, USA November 2009
This bird has already replaced a number of central lesser and median coverts as well as inner greater coverts and tertials. The scapular pattern differs to the previous bird in being dark centred with pale whitish tips.
First-winter California Gull, Salinas River Mouth, Monterey, California, USA November 2009

California Gull, moultingJuvenile: Salinas River Mouth, Monterey, California, USA November 2009
A slightly odd bird that still has a number of juvenile scapulars. The wing coverts, greaters are dark based forming a dark band across the wing, are well marked whilst the blackish primaries are long.

The head is rather small with a large central eye whilst the bill is slender and mostly dark.