[texbirds] About SY Franklin’s Gull plumage in June seen in Texas

  • From: MBB22222@xxxxxxx
  • To: texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 18:35:20 -0400 (EDT)

Laughing and Franklin’s Gull plumages seems to be not quite adequate  
portrayed in some popular bird guides so they might be misleading for some  
people. In short: Sibley illustrated LAGU with white tips of outer primaries in 
basic plumage (also in alternate plumage when in fact those white tips are  
usually gone by then and all outer primary tips look solid black) but 
National  Geographic guide portrayed *all* LAGU plumages only with outer 
without  any white tips. 
Many say that molt is the most understudied and underappreciated aspect of  
birds. It was also said that it may takes many years just to fully 
understand  the molt terminology (which keeps evolving!) so there are many 
done in  texts and photo captions out there on the net and it is easy to be  
FRGUs are known that they can have 2 complete molts per year (prealternate  
molt can be complete or partial). So, PA1 can be partial or complete, 
Dec-May,  and is followed by complete PB2, Jun-Oct (Pyle, 2008).
We (perhaps should say “I“) do not see many second calendar year FRGUs in  
southern parts of Texas during the summers (perhaps it is so hot that we 
spend  more time at home). Here is an example from June 9 this year (Aransas 
Co.) that  I found interesting. I think it is a SY bird (never saw one this 
age before  during the summer). Primaries were molted all way to p9 with only 
p10 left from  juvenile plumage (PF is partial). Although it was noted that 
some  individuals  can retain not molted outer primaries and even  more old 
outer pp coverts (like this individual that did not molt all pp  coverts 
even that corresponding primaries are new) in this case many inner  
secondaries are shed and I would assume bird is still actively molting and shed 
will be replaced soon. This process (perhaps it will include replacing p10 as  
well?) will extend PA1 time to perhaps July.  All rectrices seem to be  
already replaced. Also please note that it looks like the PB2 already started  
(the P1 with corresponding p covert were replaced) if so than in this bird  
these two molts, PA1 and PB2, are overlapping.
Molt in gulls, terns etc can be fascinating to watch but often gives the  
observer (perhaps speaking of myself) the sensation of being inside tall, 
thick  jungle where not much light can be seen. It seems that in most cases 
there are  2-3 possible explanations and usually there are no chances to see a 
molt  progress as the individual birds are hard or impossible to find again. 
Perhaps others will have some interesting observations/opinions to share. 
BTW if anybody has opinion about  P5 of this SY LAGU (May 5) and want  to 
share it I would like to hear it.
Lately I collected examples of many molt cases which are giving me constant 
 headache when I am looking at them (and not only I have this headache).  I 
 will try to upload some examples but still want to organize them better  
Mark B Bartosik
Houston, Texas
(keep  adding some rarely seen/photographed stuff there so some might be 
interested to  check it)

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  • » [texbirds] About SY Franklin’s Gull plumage in June seen in Texas - MBB22222