[CT Birds] Boney & small gull info,

Clay Taylor ctaylor at att.net
Sun Mar 25 23:15:35 EDT 2007


All -

Hmmmm.....perhaps I was actually there at Fenwick today about 10:30 to 
11:00am, 'cause evidently Bill et al got the goodies while I was with Fred 
Norton looking at ducks on the western shore of South Cove.     Oh, 
well.....

The numbers of Ducks at the mouth of the CT River (from Dock & Dine) and in 
South Cove, Old Saybrook (Soundview Road) were pretty neat -

Common Goldeneye - 90
R-b Merganser - 15
Oldsquaw - 35
Lesser Scaup - 60
Greater Scaup - 10
Bufflehead - 35
Black Duck - 120 (mostly South Cove)
Mallard - 10 South Cove
Gadwall - 3 SC
N. Pintail - 2 SC (Male & Female)
N. Shoveler - 3 SC (2M, 1F) Nice!!!
Green-winged Teal - 87 SC (no obvious Common Teal)

Red-throated Loon (River) - 8
Horned Grebe (River) - 1

Plus - viewing from Dock & Dine
Bald Eagle - 2 immatures on the sand spit extending S. from Great Island
N. Harrier - 2 on Great Island
Osprey - 27 on Great Island, many paired up on platforms
Bald Eagle - immature in South Cove being harassed by GBB Gulls

Clay Taylor
Moodus, CT
ctaylor at att.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Clay Taylor" <ctaylor at att.net>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2007 8:12 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Boney & small gull info,


> All -
>
> I'd like to add in a few tips on ID'ing the smaller gulls, especially when
> seen sitting quietly on the mudflats.    In flight, Little Gull is totally
> unique both from above or below.    A flying Bonaparte's Gull, depending 
> on
> the viewing angle and quality of the lighting, can look like it has dark
> under the wingtips, but Black-headed ALWAYS shows the dark on the 
> underside
> primaries.
>
> Right now, Black-headed adults should show full or nearly-full head color
> (really a dark chocolate-brown, not black).   I photo-documented one of 
> the
> 1980s Old Saybrook birds that went from basic (winter) plumage to 
> alternate
> (breeding) plumage in 19 days!     If you find an individual that does NOT
> have breeding plumage, it will certainly show the red bill and legs,
> contrasting with the black bill of Bonaparte's and fleshy or orange legs.
> If they are all sitting on the mud or calm water with heads tucked in, as
> long as they are all facing the same direction, the mantle color of
> Black-headed is a few shades lighter than Bonaparte's, and it is slightly
> larger and bulkier.
>
> I never saw a CT Little Gull with breeding plumage, but in basic it always
> has a very dark crown or "cap", like a Wilson's Warbler, not smudgy dark
> like on some Bonies.    The Little Gull also has gray from the mantle that
> extends down the sides of the breast in front of the wings, ending at the
> waterline.    The folded wingtips do not show black primaries from above 
> as
> do the Bonies.    Little will be REALLY little - noticeably smaller than 
> the
> Bonies, whether sitting or flying.
>
> A Ross' Gull would be very small, with a big head, stubby thick black 
> bill,
> and a dark eye that appears to be very large in proportion to the face.
> It may or may not show color underneath, and the tail-shape is probably 
> only
> visible in flight.    The underwing pattern of Ross' seems to be variable,
> but if it is flying, the small size and tail shape will give it away.
>
> I checked Old Saybrook today about 11:30 - Noon, and only had scattered
> groups of Bonies.   Looks like they are all to the western LIS right now.
>
> Clay Taylor
> Moodus, CT
> ctaylor at att.net
>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Nick Bonomo" <nbonomo at gmail.com>
> To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2007 7:13 PM
> Subject: [CT Birds] Boney info, LI Sound larvae bloom,and Smith's Longspur
> note
>
>
>> Now that Bonaparte's Gulls have arrived in some numbers, birders will
>> probably be searching for the rarer Little and Black-headed Gulls
>> among them. While Boneys can be found anywhere along the coast, there
>> are a few reliable spots to find them. These include South Cove in Old
>> Saybrook, Oyster River in West Haven/Milford, Seaside Park area in
>> Bridgeport, and Southport Beach (aka Sasco River mouth) in Southport.
>> All of these sites are productive near low tide when the mudflats are
>> available for roosting. At the higher tides the birds often disperse
>> into LI Sound to feed. Tomorrow's low tide at Oyster River is about
>> 11:30 am.
>>
>> When looking for Black-headed Gulls right now, first scan the flock
>> for any birds with a full or nearly-full hood. BHGU reaches breeding
>> plumage earlier than Bonaparte's on average, which is a huge help
>> right now. I did not see a single Bonaparte's Gull today with more
>> than a hint of a hood, while the one Black-headed Gull was almost
>> fully hooded. Soon enough this will be less helpful as the Boneys come
>> into breeding plumage.
>>
>> Of course the golden bird to find in these flocks would be Ross's
>> Gull. The one previous state record, April 11-22, 1984, came from
>> Oyster River (Zeranski & Baptist).
>>
>> It appears that the larvae bloom (or whatever it is) has begun along
>> the western CT coastline. Today there were small concentrations of
>> gulls picking at the water's surface from Oyster River to Merwin
>> Point, and also off of Compo Beach. Joining the gulls in the food were
>> Greater Scaup and common dabbling ducks. This is good news as the
>> combination of this food source and the arrival of Boneys could mean
>> nice concentrations of small gulls this year.
>>
>> Although the Smith's Longspur was not relocated today, birders should
>> continue to scour the model airplane field and surrounding areas. The
>> Smith's Longspur that was recently on Long Island was VERY hard to
>> find on most days. Some days passed with the bird not being seen at
>> all. It is a secretive species for a longspur and is capable of
>> covering a lot of ground. So there's still hope! Congrats to Larry
>> Flynn for a great find and for obtaining a nice photo! Perhaps we can
>> find a website to host the pic so everyone can see it.
>>
>> Nick Bonomo
>> Orange, CT
>>
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>
>
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