Gulls Are Hard

Western x Glaucous-winged Gull Hybrid

Gulls can be notoriously difficult to identify.  They change appearance with age and the season.  To add to the complexity, some species readily interbreed to produce hybrid offspring.

This is the case with Washington's Western and Glaucous-winged Gulls.  According to Sibley, hybrids of the two may be more abundant here than either of the two individual species.

This is why I am calling this one a hybrid of the Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) and the Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens).  Both species have dark eyes, pink legs and a heavy bill with a red spot.  The wing tips of the Wedstern are black while those of the Glaucous-winged are light gray like the mantle.  This bird's wing tips are dark gray.  Of course, I could be completely wrong.  Like I said, gulls are hard.

Western x Glaucous-winged Gull Hybrid

In the Kukutali Preserve, there is a driftwood log that that juts out over the beach.  It is propped up on a large rock.  There is always a gull perched on the end of it.  I will go out on a limb here and speculate that it is the same bird each time.  Do you think he has claimed ownership of this perching spot?