[CT Birds] LITTLE GULLS galore today

kmueller at ntplx.net kmueller at ntplx.net
Wed Apr 8 15:17:53 EDT 2015


Started this morning at 7:30 am at Long Beach in Stratford, spent a  
half an hour with "Mr. Long Beach".

Drove over to and found a large group of plankton feeding Gulls off  
the end of 5th avenue 400-500 yards off shore which included 2 adult  
ICELAND GULLS (1 with pale gray wings, 1 with dark wings). With the  
incoming tide and northeast wind the feeding Gulls were being pushed  
southwest. I drove back to Long Beach and scoped the flock from the  
eastern end of Long Beach. The numbers of Bonaparte's Gulls started  
increasing with birds arriving from the south and southwest which  
contained many nearly completely full hooded adults. I spotted what  
appeared to be a bleached-looking Bonaparte's Gull (probably a  
partially leucistic bird) and watched it fly into the feeding flock.  
As I watched this bird, a single adult LITTLE GULL flew into my scope  
view and landed with the feeding Gulls. I looked for this Gull but  
couldn't find it in the choppy water. Bonaparte's Gulls started  
arriving from the southwest and in one small flock was an adult LITTLE  
GULL (presumed to be a second bird).

With the heavy incoming tide (still low tide) and the strong northeast  
wind, I figured it would be a good opportunity to  try Southport  
Beach. I arrived at Southport Beach at 9:15 and found at least 500  
Bonaparte's Gulls standing on the outer edge of the beach sand bar at  
the mouth of the creek. I walked out by the end of the high and dry  
jetty and started scanning the flocks for a Little Gull. Within a  
minute, I had a single adult LITTLE GULL lift up out of the flock, fly  
by me and head over to the eastern point and started feeding with a  
small group of Bonaparte's Gulls. A short time later, a 2nd LITTLE  
GULL flew in from offshore and landed in the flock of Bonaparte's  
Gulls in front of me. A short time later, I found 2 adult LITTLE GULLS  
standing together in front of me within 25 yards. on the inner edge of  
the large flock of Bonaparte's Gulls that had grown to over 800. I  
then found a 5th adult LITTLE GULL in the flock on the back edge.

My iphone email was down so I texted Patrick Comins, Stefan Martin and  
called Frank Mantlik to get the word out and I appreciate them doing  
that for me. As the tide started coming in the Gulls started picking  
up and heading offshore to start plankton feeding again. At one point,  
4 adult LITTLE GULLS flew up together in an ascending spiral, flew  
over my head and then headed out into the Sound to the south farther  
out than the Bonaparte's Gulls. And as usual, Frank showed up, and the  
majority of the Gulls were feeding in a long line offshore. When I  
left Frank and Mike Warner were looking at the Gulls, not sure if they  
re-located the Little Gulls. As I write this Stefan Martin is  
there.....and I am hopeful that the Gulls will start filtering back to  
the beach. With the high tide and east wind, if they do they should  
have good close looks.

As I write this I am going through all the images I took this morning,  
and just discovered 2 more adult LITTLE GULLS that I didn't see while  
I was there.....that makes 7 adult LITTLE GULLS, and possibly an 8th  
in flight pending review of the images and the image sequences. The  
male EURASIAN WIGEON continues also at the mouth of the creek in  
Southbury.

I will post images later tonight on the Connecticut Birds Facebook page.

Great day Gulling!!

Keith Mueller
Killingworth





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