American Herring Gulls
Larus smithsonianus
Jan. 17th 2012Choshi Chiba Japan

Individual 1.

A typical American Herring Gull with very uniform dark brown overall appearance. Another 1st winter bird in the background is Slaty-backed Gull.

Note the heavily dark-barred rump and uppertail coverts, and almost all-dark tail. 

Individual 2

A preseumed paler smithsonianus on the same date. Some dark Vega Gulls or 'Taimyr Gulls' might be hard to distinguish from birds of  kind. But at least no features on this bird are out of the range of smithsonianus.

The rump and uppertail coverts are still extensively dark-barred, but it looks sparser than in 'Individual 1'. The base of outer tail feathers shows more white flecks than in 'Individual1'.

Vega Gulls on the same date.