Thursday, January 17, 2019

Slaty Surprise

I'm a passionate birder but ----I'm not a gull aficionado - (AKA Laurophile). I was telling a few birding friends lately that I almost find it difficult to scan through large groups of gulls. Perhaps in retirement when I don't have so many commitments - I will come to enjoy scanning through gulls.

With that said - local birding phenom Jeremy H was birding near the Essex County Dump and found a nice variety of gulls - including this mega rare eurasian species - the Slaty-backed Gull.

I  had gone yesterday after work at 4pm to see it and dipped on it. A small flock group of birders had been there scanning the field. They did have a white-winged gull - Glaucous perhaps that I took a poor photo of.

Tonight - I figured I would try my luck after work - heading out again at 4pm and this time I had found it quite easily! Its slaty back is not as dark as a black-backed gull. The bird also has pink legs, white eyes and in flight - distinct "string of pearls" field marks in its primary wingtips. Its a life bird at #411 !

Comparison with Greater black backed Gull

String of Pearls flight shot

Good birding!

Lifer Species 411:

Lifer Summary (Last 10) -
400- Gray Jay
401- Spruce Grouse
402- Ruffed Grouse
403- Pine Grosebeak
404- Northern Gannet
405- Common Eider
406- Razorbill
407- Black Gullimot
408- Nelson's Sparrow
409 - Great Kiskadee (New for 2018!)
410 - Brant (New for 2018!)
411 - Slaty Backed Gull (Jan 2019)

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