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first cycle California Gull
August

These are all fresh summer juveniles, most still with all-black bills. They can be confusing, recalling Lesser Black-backed Gull, from which they can be distinguished by a nearly solid tail, as well as the time and place. Note how some are fairly uniform dark while others have pale faces, throat, and underparts.


August 1, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 18, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 18, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 8, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 18, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 27. Santa Barbara, Calfornia. Photo by Don DesJardin.


August 17, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 18, 2013. Yolo County, California. Photo by Steve Hampton.


August 27. Santa Barbara, Calfornia. Photo by Don DesJardin.



JUVENILE HEERMANN'S GULLS FOR COMPARISON
June 20, 2014. San Blas, Mexico. Photos by Steve Hampton. These fresh juveniles appear very scaly and superficially similar to juvenile California Gulls. They will lose their pale-edged scaled look by the time they disperse north to the US.


October
October 17, 2013. Woodland, Calfornia. Photo by Steve Hampton. Juvenile California Gulls moult their scapulars very quickly. On this bird one can see the fresh scaps (gray and black) along with some of the old brown ones with pale edges. The new scaps will contrast with the faded brown juvenile coverts through the winter.

October 25, 1998. Santa Barbara, Calfornia. Photo by Don DesJardin. A very typical bird; note the faded brown juvenile coverts and the interesting 3-tone pattern on the moulted scapulars.



In flight, note the nearly solid tail and only faint pale window on the inner primaries.

October 30, 1998. Santa Barbara, Calfornia. Photo by Don DesJardin. This bird has a bit of a different look, but already has faded coverts and moulted scapulars.

December
December 1, 2012. Davis, Calfornia. Photo by Steve Hampton. A typical first cycle bird, a bit on the paler side, with the classic three-toned scapulars-- adult gray, brown, and white.

March
March 23, 2011. Clearlake, Calfornia. Photos by Steve Hampton.


This bird has begun to moult into 2nd cycle adult gray on the lower scapulars. Note the retained faded brown juvenile coverts.

Note the nearly solid tail and only faint pale window on the inner primaries.


Many birds will show some whitish on the breast.



This paler bird has acquired quite a few adult gray scapulars.