Showing posts from April, 2024

The decline of spring gulls in Connecticut

If you scrolled back through this space's March and April posts over the years, you'd find a significant number of entries devoted to gulls. Specifically, gulls tied to an annual phenomenon that we have referred to as "plankton feeding." Each late winter/early spring, Long Island Sound is home to mats of floating plankton that have been proven to mostly consist of barnacle larvae. These gazillions of larvae provide an irresistible food source to staging and migrating gulls and waterfowl. Typical scene off Stratford during the plankton event Towing for plankton, most of which are barnacle larvae At various sites along the coast, numbers routinely exceed a thousand birds in a single scan, with exceptional reports on peak days of 10k-plus birds. Migrant Ring-billeds dominate, followed by Herring and Bonaparte's. Rarer species are regularly found among the flocks either actively feeding offshore or at coastal roosts. CT's first Short-billed Gull indulging in the f