At the time I took this photo, I thought I was looking at a Black-legged Kittiwake. When I got home and looked at the picture, I noticed what looks to me like part of a red leg showing. This leads me to think that it might be a Red-legged Kittiwake. I would be more enthusiastic about this if Red-legged Kittiwakes were not so uncommon in Southeast Alaska. They are not listed as occuring in Southeast in Armstrong’s Birds of Alaska and they are listed as Accidental in one of the local bird lists. Unfortunately I did not pay close attention to the gray on its wings when it took off and flew further up into the estuary (the primaries should be gray underneath if this is a Red-legged Kittiwake). However, what I can see of the underside in this photo does not look very gray to me.

This bird would have been visible from shore, but I doubt I can find it again amongst the hundreds or thousands of Gulls around Indian River. That’s assuming it even sticks around at all.

Update: It was pointed out to me that Black-legged Kittiwakes can rarely have legs that are not black. Sometimes they may even have red legs. Given the fact that a Red-legged Kittiwake would be exteremely exceptional, my initial impressions that it looked like a Black-legged Kittiwake, and the fact that the bill looks much more more like that of a Black-legged Kittiwake, I think it’s probably the safe to conclude that it is a Black-legged Kittiwake.

About matt goff

I am an aspiring naturalist who seeks to learn all that I can about the more-than-human aspects of this place that is my home.
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