[CT Birds] In a word...Brutal!
PCOMINS at audubon.org
Thu Feb 21 13:53:38 EST 2013
Thank you to the 30+ brave observers who turned out for today's gull ID seminar. It was a brutal one. A few of us arrived early to find hardly any gulls, which promptly took to the air and flew around for much of the time before the seminar. As they finally started to come in, I glimpsed a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, a beautiful first cycle individual. Unfortunately, only a few of us got to see it. Something spooked the flock and we never relocated it.
As the time for the seminar to begin approached, I located the mystery bird, the one originally thought (by me at least) to be a possible Yellow-legged Gull, but which is looking more and more likely to be a hybrid HerringXLesser. Many folks got some distant looks, but again the flock was spooked and we weren't able to relocate the bird. That was last seen at about 9:45. We then officially began the seminar and endured the brutal wind chills and looked through the assembled group of a few hundred birds and found essentially nothing out of the ordinary.
A few folks got to see a possible backcross Nelson's Gull (or maybe a big, pale Herring Gull with a glaucous like bill) and we talked mostly about aging Herring Gulls. No sign of the possible/probable Slaty-backed Gull, which was there yesterday and could be again tomorrow. In all a pretty frustrating seminar to lead, but I hope folks learned some things about gull ID other than the experience can be a cold one and frustrating at times.
One interesting bird that we saw was a very pale first cycle Herring-type Gull. It was especially interesting as it appeared to have a non-smithsonianus-like tail pattern.
PS I'd hoped to get out a GBBC wrap-up message out by now, but have been pretty busy this week. Hopefully later today or over the weekend.
Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488
Phone: (203)264-5098 x308
pcomins at audubon.org
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