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second cycle Herring Gull smithsonianus
November
November 11, 2010. Lake Mendocino, California. Photo by Matt Brady. This is a typical second cycle bird with an adult gray mantle, rather washed marbled coverts, and a two-toned bill reminiscent of Glaucous Gull.

December
December 22, 1998. Newby Island, Santa Clara Co., Calfornia. Photos by Mike Rogers.


This picture shows two second year birds, a smaller female in front and a larger male behind. The male has very little adult gray in the mantle, but appears to be a second year bird judging from the marbled greater coverts and tertial tips.

This bird still has an unusual amount of black in the bill.

February
February 16, 2013. Petaluma, Calfornia. Photos by Steve Hampton.


This is a fairly typical second cycle bird, although this age class is extremely variable. The eye is beginning to lighten.

This bird is more interesting because it has very little adult gray icy blue tones on the back. However, clues that it is indeed second cycle are: fairly white head and body, fairly pale bill, and especially, marbled (not checkered) greater coverts and tertials.

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


This bird shows the pale eye, which is acquired during the second cycle.

The late season bird is quite worn and thus appears rather pale. An unusally high proportion of second year smithsonianus appear as if they are hybrids with Glaucous, but they can't all be. This appearance is fairly common.