[CT Birds] Southport Little Gulls tip

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 08:50:26 EDT 2015

Some great points by Keith.

Here are two more tips I can pass along. First, when scanning roosting
birds, remember that Little Gulls are, well, little! If the birds are
not roosting on an exposed edge, they can be very difficult to see. On
multiple occasions over the years I have scanned a roosting flock
multiple times without spotting a Little Gull, only to have one
randomly walk right out from behind a Bonaparte's Gull it was
completely hidden by. The key is to be persistent and occasionally
change your angle on the flock, which may reveal a hiding LIGU.

Second, adult Little Gulls are easiest to pick out when the flock is
in flight. This may seem counter-intuitive, as Bonaparte's Gull flocks
are quick and agile, but the key is to look for the very dark gray
underwings of adults. When the flock banks or individuals flap in such
a way that the underwings are exposed, let your eye be drawn to
flashes of blackish. It's amazing how this feature sticks out like a
sore thumb in flight. Keith took a few images yesterday that
illustrate this feature quite well. Here is a link to a bird in flight
from Southport Beach a few years ago that I saw with others:

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 8:34 AM, Keith Mueller via CTBirds
<ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:
> I received a few emails regarding helpful tips for locating a Little Gull(s)
> in the flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls in Southport. Assuming they are still
> there or if not more may be coming, I would recommend two things that you
> might find helpful. I have found that Little Gulls tend to hang out on the
> outer edges of the flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls. Every time I have located
> Little Gulls in the flocks, I started searching the outer edges of the
> flocks both on the edge closest to you, and the back side. I just about
> always find Little Gulls both on shore and  on the water on the edges. This
> is where I found 4 of the 8 adults yesterday; 2 on the front edge right
> directly in front of me, and 2 on the back edge. This was also evident last
> year when the Little Gulls were on the sand bar and feeding in the water
> close to the rock jetty, they were feeding on the inner edge of the flock.
> In fact when we spotted Little Gulls flying, they would land on the water
> (most of the time) on either edge of the feeding flock....often on the
> upwind edge of the flock.
> The second tip I can suggest is when you are scanning the flock of roosting
> Gulls. look for predominantly white/pale gray wing tips of the adults in the
> group. These white/pale gray primaries stand out in the group. If you locate
> a set, look for the black with white tip underneath the primaries......this
> really stands out in a crowd.
> Good Luck! I hope you find the Little Gulls!
> Regards,
> Keith
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