[CT Birds] Most likely Southbury Mew Gull

kmueller at ntplx.net kmueller at ntplx.net
Tue Feb 11 09:06:08 EST 2014

Yesterday- (Monday, Feb. 11, 2014)- I am very confident that the Mew  
Gull is still in the same location on the Housatonic River ice near  
the Farm on River St. I arrived yesterday at 10:30 am at the Farm  
where the we saw the Gull nearly two weeks ago just as the farmer was  
dumping the old vegetable feed near the main barn and the feeding gull  
frenzy started. The Gulls fed for half an hour and then settled on the  
ice near the road to roost. I scoped the 750 Gulls for an hour and  
finally found what I believed to be the Mew Gull sleeping in the  
middle of the flock. Unfortunately the Gull was sleeping with its head  
tucked back and in, and I never saw the Gull wake up to see the bill  
and dark eyes. I kept watching for 15 minutes until an Eagle flew over  
and shuffled the flock. I was never able to re-locate the Gull again!

Based on my field observations and what identified this Gull to me as  
being the very probable Mew Gull was: it was smaller than the  
surrounding Ring-billed Gulls. Its mantle shade was similar to the  
Ring-billed Gulls often appearing slightly lighter or one shade darker  
that the Ring-billed Gulls (bright sun and clouds issues). Its legs  
were much smaller and narrower with smaller tibiotarsal joints than  
the Ring-billed Gulls and also were gray with a pale yellow/green wash  
to them.

I didn't report it yesterday because I wanted to evaluate the known  
images from Mike Resch and Patrick Comins and my distant shots from  
Feb. 1 to the shots I took yesterday. This Gull has very unique  
spotting patterns in its small feathers in the upper chest and back of  
its head, and the legs were also very unique. Last night I compared  
all the images from the known identifiable shots and my sleeping Gull  
shots from yesterday and the feather markings and legs match. I  
concluded with much confidence that this is the Mew Gull that Patrick  
found. You can see these images here on my FB album page:


As I mentioned there is a good concentration of Gulls here including  
at least 2 Iceland , 1 Glaucous and other unique looking Herring Gulls  
including a likely Nelson's Gull. I did see 1 Iceland Gull yesterday  
(the nearly all white 1st cycle), 1 banded Ring-billed Gull with a  
blue leg maker band #AC6 from the former Montreal Gull Study Program  
and possibly the Nelson's Gull (or similar plumaged HERG) that Patrick  
photographed last week. Also has several Eagles on the river and a  
immature Cooper's Hawk chase a ball of Starlings over the field  
isolating one and chased by the Coops that flew about 5 feet over my  

Keith Mueller

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