Thursday, April 18, 2019

CALIFORNIA GULL in CT

This spring's gull migration in Connecticut has been the worst in at least a decade, as far as I can remember...which made this evening's find of an adult CALIFORNIA GULL all the more surprising.

Showery weather conditions have set in for a few days, which can mean downed birds during migration. It's been a loooong week at work and I was itching to hit the coast for just an hour or two this evening. The Oyster River mouth had nothing, and nearby Bradley Point in West Haven had just its usual loafing flock of a couple hundred gulls. Scanning with bins from the car, and not expecting to see much, I noticed at least three adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS straight away and decided to take a close look at the flock. The initial count of 8 LBBGs would have been my personal high count in the state by a wide margin. Then I saw the Cal Gull, which was facing straight away into the wind for a while before finally getting a bit active and showing all salient field marks just in time for Julian Hough's arrival. We watched the bird for a bit before it flew offshore, likely to one of the breakwaters to roost.

This is the state's second record, the first being seen in spring 2016 and reappearing briefly in September of that year.

The final LBBG tally was fourteen.

CAGU bathing, at right


Open wing includes a p9 mirror, a typical pattern for this species and differentiates it from a CAGU seen earlier this season in MA and NJ.

Behind a few Ring-billed Gulls. A bit of a bruiser, this one was closer to Herring than to Ring-billed in size.

Right of a couple Herring Gulls. The bird's legs were not bright yellow as I would have expected at this time of year, instead appearing an interesting dull grayish yellow-green.

Nine of the 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

 - Nick

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