Very exciting news for all you larophiles out there! As many of you know, a Lesser Black-backed Gull has been nesting on Appledore Island and has paired up with a Herring Gull for the last three years. [see the “Lesser Black-backed Gull” tab for details] On December 13, 2009 Blair Nikula observed an unusual second year gull at Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown, MA. He thought it looked like a hybrid LBBG x HERG and took several photos of it.
When the bird stood up, Blair noticed that it was banded and reported it to us. “F02” is one of the offspring of the Appledore LBBG x HERG pair and was banded as a chick in July 2008!
There is only one other observation of an Appledore LBBG x HERG offspring and, interestingly, it was also F02. On March 20, 2009 Mitchell Harris observed a banded gull at a landfill in Brevard County, Florida; he thought the bird looked like a LBBG and took some photos. We received his report and photos and the bird did appear to be F02.
Presumed hybrids of these two species have been observed annually along the east coast for some time. Blair and Mitchell’s reports and photos of a bird with known parentage will be extremely useful for identification of presumed hybirds in the future.