Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Black-headed Gull

Full of good intentions I made a to-do list as I drank my first cup of coffee. Then Andrew Baldelli called. "You going to look for the Black-headed Gull?" Of course my intentions were to work on the yard, but Joyce said that sounded more like an afternoon job, after it warmed up a bit outside. So I agreed to go with Andrew for a morning of gull-scanning. The first location, East Ocean View, looked pretty much as it had the evening before. A few more Tree Swallows and a small group of Savannah Sparrows in the dried Bermuda grass were new. The gull result was the same: no goodie gull. We moved on to 86th Street at the oceanfront where my favorite parking space was available. The ocean was flat calm with no birds. There was a medium-sized group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but nothing too exciting. We drove south to Rudee Inlet where we met Van Truan, a former regional editor for American Birds from Pueblo, Colorado. Andrew showed him his life Purple Sandpiper through the scope. I'll probably give Van a call when we get to Colorado in April. A walk up the beach to where the dredge spoil was spewing muck out of the pipe produced more Lesser Black-backs, but little else. We drove back to East Ocean View for another look for the gull, but the results were the same. When we got back to the house, Andrew agreed to let me know if the gull showed up in the afternoon.
After lunch I did get going on the yard. Put down some lawn food, trimmed our badly overgrown pyracantha, straighten the bird feeders and refilled them. The chickadees were talking to me the entire time I was working on the feeders. With the tasks finished, Joyce and I drove to East Ocean View as we had done the previous evening. When we got to the beach, the scene seemed exactly as it had been last night. All the same birds were there and the gull was not. However, things soon changed. Out of the west flying straight toward us was a tern-like gull with pale upper wings and darkish underwings. It alighted on the water with a little wing flutter and there it was....the Black-headed Gull, number 352. Another birder Ryan from northern Virginia walked onto the scene, camera in hand. We both took a series of photos, two of which I've posted. On our way home Andrew called. "I got the gull," I said. Tomorrow, more errands and some rain.
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