Thayer's Gull - first-cycle, Windsor/Bloomfield Landfill, Hartford County, CT. Dec 23rd. Found by Nick Bonomo with Julian Hough. Potentially about the fifth state record.
Made a another visit to the Windsor/Bloomfield Landfill this afternoon having made tentative arrangements to meet up with Nick Bonomo and Julian Hough the night before. Conditions felt good on arrival. Nice and calm, though perhaps a little too bright and sunny for optimum viewing. Much to my delight, Nick and Julian had already seen some fine birds in the hour before I'd arrived. This fine first-cycle Thayer's Gull was certainly the highlight, but a stunning adult Glaucous Gull came in a close second. Also present, at least five Kumlien's Iceland Gulls (including one adult), a Northern Harrier, and then later in the day, Common Raven and Pine Siskin.
The Thayer's was an amazing bird and a great learning experience. At times it looked VERY like a first-cycle American Herring Gull, especially in harsh light. In softer light with high cloud cover, it's appearance changed to that of a more readily identifiable Thayer's when its plumage looked more 'frosty' and less contrasty. By late afternoon with near complete cloud cover, it wasn't too difficult to pick out of the numerous young American Herring Gulls present.
I'll be adding more annotations to these images over the next few days when I have a little more time. But....full credit to Nick Bonomo for another superb find at this landfill, and thanks very much to Julian and Nick for the fruitful and lively discussion over the bird in the field. It was a really fine opportunity to study an out-of-range Thayer's at close quarters. Nick has a fine collection of images and field notes on his own blog @ Shorebirder.