Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)

The taxon "Thayer's Gull" was merged into Iceland Gull in 2017. The following records include both Iceland Gull and "Thayer's Gull" records. Records reviewed as Thayer's are noted as such.

Number of accepted Iceland Gull records for Louisiana = 22 as of October 2017

Accepted Records

(82-2). A first-year bird studied at the New Orleans City Dump, New Orleans on 14 February 1982 (B. Mac Myers III, David Muth, Norton Nelkin); photographed by B. Mac Myers III. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-year immature (1982-09; formerly 83-13) collected (LSUMZ 104002) at the Paris Road dump, St. Bernard Parish, on 7 March 1982 (Steven W. Cardiff). [Thayer's Gull]

A first-year immature (83-21) at the mouth of Calcasieu Pass (East Jetty Beach), Cameron Parish, on the remarkably late date of 28 May 1983 (Van Remsen; Ted Parker). The collected bird is the first Louisiana specimen accepted by the Committee. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-winter immature(1982-08; formerly 83-12) collected (LSUMZ 103493) on 28 February 1982 at the New Orleans city dump on Almonaster Road, Orleans Parish (Dan Purrington, Steven W. Cardiff; David Muth*). [Thayer's Gull]

One first-winter immature(1984-01; formerly 85-7) on 23 December 1984 at the New Orleans city dump on Almonaster Road, Orleans Parish (David Muth*,James Holmes, Jr.). [Thayer's Gull]

One first-winter immature(1985-41; formerly 86-10) on 29 December 1985 at the New Orleans city dump on Almonaster Road, Orleans Parish (James Holmes, Jr.*, David Muth). [Thayer's Gull]

One fourth year in basic plumage (1988-67; formerly 89-76*) on 27-28 Feb. 1988, Plaquemines: Venice; Donna L. Dittmann & Steven W. Cardiff, GS, on 28 Feb. also Crescent Bird Club members. Muth (1988, p. 276) erroneously reported the dates as 26-27 Feb.
Listed in Appendix 1 of the TENTH REPORT OF THE LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE as formerly being LBRC Record 89-67. [Thayer's Gull]

One in first basic plumage (1989-25; formerly 90-25) on 30 Dec. 1989, St. Bernard: Arabi, Crescent Acres Landfill (BFI Dump); Donna L. Dittmann & Steven W. Cardiff (ph). [Thayer's Gull]

One (91-16) in first basic plumage, on 22 Feb 1991, St. Bernard: BFI Crescent Acres Landfill near Chalmette; Curtis A. Marantz (ph), Paul E. Lehman, and Shawneen Finnegan; AB 45(2): 285. [Thayer's Gull]

One first year male (1994-127) on 16 April 1994, Cameron: approximately 4 mi. W old mouth Mermentau River (Rutherford Beach); Donna L. Dittmann (ph) and Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 160609). Published in Field Notes 48(3):309.

Photo by Donna l. Dittmann

One female in first basic plumage molting to first alternate plumage (1994-053) on 27 April 1994, Cameron: 1 mi. E of Holly Beach; Donna L. Dittmann (DLD 4161, ph cover and below) and Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 160608). This represents the first state record. See discussion in LBRC 2013 Newsletter, page 7

Photos by Donna L. Dittmann

One second year female (2002-029) on 19 May 2002, Cameron: approximately 5 mi. W old mouth Mermentau River (Rutherford Beach); Donna L. Dittmann (ph) and Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 173570).
Photo by Donna l. Dittmann

One first year male (2002-100) on 24 November 2002, Cameron: 5 mi. W of Holly Beach; B. Mac Myers III (LSUMZ 175246) and Donna L. Dittmann (DLD 8050). [Thayer's Gull]
< >
Photos by Donna L. Dittmann

One male in first basic plumage (2006-073) on 19 November 2006, Cameron: 5 mi. W of old mouth Mermentau River (Rutherford Beach), N 29o 46’ 29”, W 93o 12’ 21”; Donna L. Dittmann (DLD 8829) and Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 179733). DNA analyzed by S. Sonsthagen, who determined that the allelic optimal is Larus smithsonianus (but also L. californicus and L. fuscus) so that genetic ID as L. glaucoides was not confirmed. Sonsthagen commented: “This individual has a lot of common alleles with a few rare ones for Thayer's and Glaucous-winged, which likely muddied up the genetic ID. Joe Jehl thought it was a L. kumlieni but he thought the tail was too dark for kumlieni.” Tentatively identified as Kumlien’s Iceland Gull.

Photos by Donna L. Dittmann

One first basic female (2008-075) on 2 November 2008, Cameron: approximately 2 mi. W of Holly Beach; Paul E. Conover (LSUMZ 184281) and Donna L. Dittmann (DLD 9399). [Thayer's Gull]
< >
Photos by Donna L. Dittmann

One first cycle in pre-alternate molt (2009-17) on 28 February 2009, Jefferson Davis: Jefferson Davis Parish Landfill, approximately 2 mi. NW Welsh; Devin Bosler (ph). [Thayer's Gull]
Photos by Devin Bosler

One in first basic plumage (2013-021) on 19 January 2013, Cameron: approximately 1 mi. S of mouth Calcasieu Pass; Paul E. Conover (ph) and Dave Patton (ph). [Thayer's Gull]
Photos by Paul Conover, Dave Patton

One in first basic plumage (2013-018) from 9 March-4 April 2013, Plaquemines: Venice, Venice Boat Harbor and Venice landfill; Tom Johnson (ph), Mary Mehaffey, Nancy L. Newfield (03/17/2013 report), (field notes), (04/07/2013 report), Phillip A. Wallace (ph), Tom Trenchard (ph), and Justin Bosler (ph).

Photos by Tom Johnson

One in first basic plumage (2013-019) from 23 November- 14 December 2013; St. Tammany: Mandeville lakefront;
Chris Brantley (ph) Janine Robin (ph), Tom Trenchard (ph), James Beck (ph), Mike Musumeche (ph), Jay V. Huner (ph), Dave Patton (ph), J. V. Remsen (ph only; 11/23), Dan O'Malley (ph), Mary Mehaffey (ph), B. Mac. Myers III (ph), and Charles Lyon (ph only; 12/07).

Photos by Van Remsen, Janine Robin, Dave Patton, and Charles Lyon

One first year (2013-060) on 15 December 2013, Cameron: Cameron, E side Calcasieu River approximately 1 mi. N of ferry landing on Wakefield Road; Donna L. Dittmann (ph) and Steven W. Cardiff. [Thayer's Gull]
Photos by Donna L. Dittmann

One first winter (2014-081) on 11 March 2014, St. Landry: E. side Brooks Rd., about ½ mi. S intersection with Hwy. 358, 1 mi. N intersection with Dusty Rd.; Jay V. Huner (ph).

Photo by Jay Huner

One adult female (2015-051) on 11 October 2015, Cameron: Rutherford Beach, about 5 mi. W community; Paul E. Conover (ph) and Donna L. Dittmann (prep only, DLD 10879, ph on p. 27). This record was accepted after four circulations. The relatively early date, somewhat large black band on P5, and relatively large general size and bill (for a female) were bothersome. But, overall, the bird was consistent with a Thayer’s and all Members accepted as such.
Photos by Paul Conover

Unaccepted Records

One immature (1984-8) at Fontainebleau State Park, St. Tammany Parish, 1 April 1984. [Thayer's Gull]

One in very worn and bleached third or fourth year alternate plumage (1984-16) on 13-19 May 1984, Lafourche: Fourchon Beach. Expert opinion provided by Guy McCaskie. The identification was based on a "dark eye" and generally petite size and shape. The record was decided on a meeting vote of 3-4 after the record had circulated three times without a deciding vote. Members voting against the record felt that the photographs were not sufficient to identify the bird and that descriptions provided by the observers were vague. There were conflicting descriptions of eye color, and the bird appeared in photographs to have very worn, uniformly brown wingtips. It did not, therefore, possess any diagnostic characters, and the possibility of a small female Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) could not be eliminated. This record illustrates the need for careful written documentation, even in cases where photographs were obtained. In this case, if several observers had carefully noted plumage and soft part colors, then perhaps the bird could have been conclusively identified. Erroneously reported as present between 13 Apr.-19 May in AB 38(5):922. [Thayer's Gull]

One in first basic plumage (1988-91; formerly 1989-129) on 3 Mar. 1988, St. Bernard: Chalmette, "BPI” Crescent Acres Landfill. The relationships of the Thayer's/Iceland Herring gull complex and the field characteristics of the group remain uncertain. From our current knowledge of Thayer’s Gull plumages and the description and photographs of this record, Herring, or the Kumlien’s subspecies of Iceland Gull (L. glaucoides kumlieni), or a possible hybrid (Herring X Iceland) could not be eliminated by the photographs or the observer’s descriptions. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-year immature (1988-029) on 12 November 1988, Cameron: ca 2 mi. W old mouth Mermentau River (Rutherford Beach). Considering the complex taxonomic and identification issues associated with Thayer’s Gull, the description of this bird was actually fairly suggestive. However, most Members eventually concluded that there was simply not enough detail to be certain of the identification and that more substantial documentation would have been necessary to support the identification and eliminate similar species or hybrids. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-year immature (1989-010) on 16 December 1989, Cameron: Hackberry. The description was superficially suggestive of this species, but not detailed enough to confirm the identification. [Thayer's Gull]

One in 1st basic plumage (1995-145) on 2 Dec 1995, Cameron: Holly Beach. Neither the descriptions nor the photographs submitted with this record could convince the Committee that the bird was correctly identified and that similar species and potential hybrids were sufficiently eliminated from consideration. [Thayer's Gull]

One first year female (2003-032) on 4 May 2003, Cameron: ca 2 mi. W Holly Beach (LSUMZ 177043). This specimen is a small individual with a proportionately small bill. It is similar in overall appearance to LSUMZ 160609 (see accepted records above) with which it shares very worn remiges. It is whiter on throat and chest following a partial body molt. It does have a dark/contrasting secondary bar, however, this individual has a more banded appearance to the tail (versus mostly all dark), which is an Iceland/Kumlien’s character. This specimen was genetically examined and results did not support identification of Thayer’s (per Sarah Sonsthagen allelic probability as Herring but SNP [single nucleotide polymorphism] recovered Slaty-backed and Lesser Black-backed) pattern. Genetic results and tail pattern may better support a potential hybrid. Members agreed that it would be prudent to be conservative and not accept this specimen as a Thayer’s Gull at this time. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-winter (2009-012) on 25 January 2009, Orleans: New Orleans, Seabrook Bridge (ph). This was a small and very pale-colored individual that most Members believed was more suggestive of a Thayer’s-Kumlien’s intergrade. The report was not accepted as an outright Thayer’s, but could be revisited pending future taxonomic decisions relevant to the Thayer’s-Iceland gull complex. [Thayer's Gull]

One first-summer (2011-016) on 8 April 2011, Jefferson: beach at Grand Isle. All Members believed that the photographs clearly showed a gull too large for an Iceland Gull and were a better match for a Glaucous Gull or some sort of white-winged gull hybrid.

One first-year immature (2012-128) on 25 March 2012, Cameron: Cameron, Calcasieu Ship Channel. A series of photographs accompanied the report, and most Members generally agreed they were suggestive of a Thayer’s Gull. However, some of the characters observed in the photos, including a proportionately large bill and a hint of a pale inner primary “flash” did not support a ‘classic’ Thayer’s Gull and hinted at mixed parentage involving Herring Gull. Also of concern was that there were no photos that showed the bird standing in profile or from the back, and that some Members interpreted the bird’s general body plumage pattern and coloration as more suggestive of a Herring. The report was ultimately not accepted. See also: [Thayer's Gull]

One first summer (2014-080) on 22 February 2014, Vermilion: 1 mi. W Mouton Cove (ph). All Members agreed that photographs and the accompanying description were not sufficient to rule out similar species. [Thayer's Gull]

One first year (2015-019) on 16 March 2015, Terrebonne: Isles Dernieres, Raccoon Island (ph). Following review of specimens and guidelines developed by the LBRC on ‘what a Thayer’s Gull should look like,’ all Members believed that this individual was more Kumlien’s-like in appearance and voted not to accept this record. [Thayer's Gull]

One adult (2015-039) on 27 May 2015, Cameron: Hwy. 82 along Holly Beach. In the absence of hard evidence, all Members believed that the description was not thorough enough to document such a rare and difficult to identify species, especially from late May. [Thayer's Gull]