Tortuguero always bring surprises. This time, Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) was seen and photographed by Sebastian Bonilla when he was birdwatching the Colorado River mouth, Parque Nacional Tortuguero. The bird is also known as the Dominican Gull (the specific name comes from the Dominican Order of friars, who wore black and white habits). It breeds on coasts and islands through much of the southern hemisphere. So, this time the new arrival to the list comes from the south. Sub species of L. dominicanus are found around South America, parts of Australia, New Zealand and around southern Africa (OUCR´s forum).
Gulls are not easy to tell apart. That’s why Luis Sandoval asked three birders from North America with extensive experience in identifying gulls (Steve Pike, Kevin McLaughlin, and Alan Wormington). They agree on the identification of the species.
But here is the controversial point again. Juan Diego Vargas sent the attached pic to people with experience in ID gulls in North America (among them Paul Lehman).. Their opinion is that although it may be L. dominicanus there is no way to exclude Great Black-backed Gull (L. marinus).