Showing posts from April, 2018

The end of the gulling season?

I had Tuesday, April 10th, off from work and the weather was crap. Cold and wet. It's been the theme of the "spring" so far. Loads of gulls still around, so I spent a few hours in the afternoon specifically seeking out Bonaparte's Gulls in search of a Little Gull. I hadn't seen a Little Gull in CT in three years, so I was due and didn't want to miss again this year. Their window of passage has narrowed over the years and now they are almost exclusively seen during the first half of April. They used to be more spread out through March into April. Now they're rarely seen in March at all. I came across Bonaparte's Gulls at four locations along the coast, the last of which held a good 75 or so birds. No sign of any Little Gulls when I arrived, but I would walk onto the flats and hang out for a bit since this would be my last stop. Soon there happened to be a slight turnover of Bonaparte's...several took off, while some flew in from Long Island Sound

2018 COA Gull Workshop (a 'thayeri' Iceland and ten thousand other gulls)

On Saturday, April 7th, some 45 birders attended COA 's annual Gull Workshop. At Stratford Point I gave a presentation on gull ID that was followed by a field session. During a break in the indoor segment, Stefan Martin relocated a thayeri -type ICELAND GULL that Patrick Comins had found the previous day. It was part of a small flock of gulls that were scraping recently-attached barnacle larvae off the rocks at the point. I had expected that we would be running up and down the coast in search of these wandering plankton-feeding flocks, but as it turned out, we never had to leave Stratford. The field session started at the Seawall, where a couple of flocks began plankton-feeding close enough to shore for study. Bonaparte's Gulls were scattered among the abundant Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, and we had upwards of 10+ of our standard kumlieni Iceland Gulls in the area at once. The first cycle "Kumlien's" Gulls are bleached pretty much white by this point

A Fun Flock of Gulls

Today between errands I stopped by the Oyster River mouth in Milford/West Haven, CT as I do often this time of year. The gulling at this location this season has been inconsistent, so I was pleased to find about 600 birds roosting on the flats at low tide today. It turned out to be a really fun flock to sort through. Nothing super rare, but a bit of variety and some really fascinating individuals. We'll start with the anomalous Ring-billed Gulls. First, the dark first cycle. Black legs, black-and-yellow bill, dark plumage aspect. Probably the coolest-looking Ringer I've seen in person. Vaguely reminiscent in some ways of "Picasso," a presumed screwed-up RBGU that was seen in the northeast a couple years ago. (Trying Facebook link...may or may not work.) Next, the leucistic one. This bird is just as confusing to me, mostly because I'm having trouble ageing it. I first saw what I assume to be the same bird exactly two years ago, in