The BIG story: soon after arrival, I caught a 2-second glimpse of an adult, apparent 'white-winged' (Glaucous or Iceland) gull in flight that went back down into the 'pile' (active dumping area) below where we could see (pretty much right where Heidi's looking in the above photo). I was pretty worked up & we set to looking for it and Heidi soon spotted what turned out to be an adult Glaucous-winged ... a nice find (!) and a new arrival to the dump this winter.
I know this is ridiculously blurry (better than most I tried!!) but a closer view of the wingtip pattern on the adult Iceland Gull.
There were likely 1000+ gulls around from 9am (when we arrived) to 1150am (when we split during a hailstorm) with some gull arrivals (mostly) & departures. They were VERY cooperative and the weather was mostly so ... until the storm drove the adult Iceland and many others off towards Lake Lowell (presumably). In total we saw 7 gull species plus a couple of likely hybrids (the bane of gull-watchers - at least this one!) - including 30+ Herring Gulls of all ages, 1 1st-winter Glaucous, the adult Glaucous-winged, the Iceland adult, ~5 Thayer's Gulls, ~800 California Gulls, and ~400 Ring-billed Gulls. Charles - I'll post to eBird in the AM!!
All in all, a pretty awesome day to be at the dump!!
Parting Shots: those of you with little patience for gull ID have likely long-since fallen asleep on the keyboard (and thanks for coming this far!). BUT, for the gull-enthusiasts (Ryan O. - I know you're still with me!), here are a few individual 1st-winter birds that we observed today whose identities were challenging our brainpower (comments/opinions welcome - as always).
1st, here are a few shots of the potential 1st winter Iceland Gull found last week by Cliff Weisse. To my knowledge, Cliff, Heidi, and I are the only folks to have seen it well and all agree it definitely has Iceland 'blood' - and maybe wouldn't even be questioned as an Iceland if seen in their normal winter range - but is it 'pure' enough to definitively be an Iceland Gull in Idaho (and/or is there also a bit of Thayer's Gull blood)??