[CT Birds] Gulls plankton-feeding begins, LBBG

Boletebill boletebill at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 29 13:48:42 EST 2012

Re the gull feeding behavior...
I have seen this behavior in the CT River in Essex in both the Spring and the Fall.
I have posted about this before here but still the question seems unanswered "What are they feeding on?" Dennis says Barnacle larvae, Frank says plankton, someone else fish but how do we know these things?
I'm curious has anyone ever dragged a plankton trawl through these gull flocks and ID-ed the food source or are the previous comments educated guesses?
Any references anyone could supply would be appreciated
. Is it possible Blue Crab larvae are involved?
I ask because it seems to me Plankton blooms are something different from synchronomous larval hatches and it would be interesting to know if it's one or the other or both of these events.
Bill Yule.
"For those who hunger after the earthly excrescences called mushrooms."

--- On Wed, 2/29/12, Frank Mantlik <mantlik at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

From: Frank Mantlik <mantlik at sbcglobal.net>
Subject: [CT Birds] Gulls plankton-feeding begins, LBBG
To: "Birds CT" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 1:29 PM

2/29  Stratford, Lordship Seawall & Long Beach
I popped out briefly 10:30 to view LI Sound before the rain/winter storm began. 
I discovered several hundred gulls sitting on the water, plankton-feeding, just 
off the Lordship Seawall at Marnick's Restaurant.  Among them was an adult 
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL.  I called a couple local birders. The wind blew the 
gull flock (& plankton?) west towards Long Beach.
I was joined at Long Beach by Charlie Barnard, where I estimated 1000 gulls (60% 
Ring-billed, 40% Herring), including the LBBG and 1 Bonaparte's.  By 11:30 the 
flock had dispersed somewhat, as well as was blown much farther offshore towards 
Bridgeport.  Then the rain began.

Frank Mantlik

>From Frank Mantlik, with Charlie Barnard
2/29 Stratford, Long Beach - Adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, 1 Bonaparte's Gull 
with 1000 gulls (60%/40% Ringbilled: Herring) plankton-feeding.  Also numbers of 
Brant, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Long-tailed Ducks.
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