Possible Yellow-legged Gull in New Jersey
These photos were taken in early March 1998 at Longport, New Jersey (just south of Atlantic City), by Marvin Hyett (email@example.com). They have been scanned from prints, not slides. I have not seen the bird. The photos show a bird that could well be a Yellow-legged Gull, L. cachinnans. Points in favor of YLGU include: overall jizz, longish yellow legs, bill color and shape, primary projection, pattern of black on primaries, and dark underwing flight feathers.
In addition, a feature not shown on the photos, the bird had a red orbital ring, as verified by another birder. P6 and P7 especially show an amount of black that would be extreme for a smithsonianus Herring Gull.
Hybrid Lesser X Herring seems unlikely due to the jizz and mantle color.
My own opinion is that I haven't enough information to decide. More and sharper photos would be desirable, taken under different lighting conditions. I would like to know also just how red the orbital ring was; many Herring Gulls this time of year show orbital rings that can look almost red. In any event, it is an interesting and educational bird.
There is a discussion of this bird on the responses page.
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