In most years, I've been able to encounter 1 or more Blue Jays during the fall at Lucky Peak or elsewhere but this hasn't been so the last couple years so we had to go chasing! Progress on the 2009 year list has been quite slow of late - a combo of being busy with other things and it being a slower time of year with fewer bird species around - so it was fun when Heidi first spotted one in a conifer and then it came in to the feeder a few minutes later!
A shot of the cooperative Blue Jay through my handheld ;-)
Since it didn't take long for a Blue Jay to arrive, we decided it might be worth a quick stop at the Boise dump (Hidden Hollow landfill) to see about the gulls on the way home. We'd found an immense adult Glaucous Gull as well as an adult Mew Gull (no pics) the day before so we wanted to see if anything new might be around.
Glaucous-winged but the yellow eyes, smaller bill, rounded head shape, and eyes more forward on face suggested otherwise. Maybe biased by the Glaucous the day before (which was cooperative on this day too & arrived about 30 min after we did), my first inclination was that it had some Glaucous in it - maybe crossed with Herring (which could help explain the gray wingtips). But, the longer we looked, the more we wondered about an adult Iceland (Kumlien's because of the gray, not white, primary tips) ... in particular, at one point after the gulls had been flushed & then settled again, the presumed Iceland was perched directly in front of the Glaucous providing a brief comparison. In addition to being smaller, the bird had a longer primary projection, daintier bill, more rounded head, and less of a 'tertial stack' (basically, more attenuated body shape) than the Glaucous.
Facing the camera (rear right, behind the hordes of Ring-bills and, based on mantle color, 1 California at front right) - notice the smaller, narrower head & neck compared to the Herring @ left
Here it is between 2 adult Herring Gulls (that have different amounts of head streaking)
It's been quite a year for gulls in Idaho, having now seen Sabine's, Bonaparte's, Franklin's, Mew, Ring-billed, California, Thayer's, Iceland, Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous-winged, Herring, & Glaucous in 2010!! Now, just waiting on the Western &/or Slaty-backed to arrive ;-).