Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yellow-legged Gull

This morning Dave Brown helped me find and study a Yellow-legged Gull.   Sighting of this bird raised my year's list to 727 placing me second all-time on the list of ABA Big Year's Lists.  I was able to get some photos of the gull which considering the distance and the gull's location on a metal roof, turned out okay.  The top photo is taken with my 500mm mirror lens, cropped, and blown up.  In the photo you can see the bird's mantle is slightly darker than that of the nearby Herring Gulls.  You can also see the short-legged look not described in fieldguides.  As the winter progresses heads of Yellow-legged Gulls get whiter and whiter.  This bird still has a few dark flecks, but was definitely the lightest headed gull around except for the Great Black-backed Gulls, of course.  The second photo is a not-so-great digiscope attempt that, however, does show the sharp demarcation of the black wing tip from the rest of the wing as well as the slightly darker mantle color and bright yellow legs.  Lesser Black-backed Gulls show a more shaded transition to the black wing tips and usually don't have legs that are this bright yellow in winter.  After a brief celebration, Dave went off to a job interview, and I spent the rest of the day doing the circuit of the various gull spots trying to discover what my other target, the Black-tailed Gull, does with his day.  I never got a nibble on that one.  So tomorrow I will spend my last day in Newfoundland making that same circuit over and over until I find the bird or it gets too dark or rainy to see.  I will also be looking for the Slaty-backed Gull that's been seen here just to relieve the tedium.  I've handed out quite a few of my calling cards to local birders.  If I don't find it, maybe someone else will and my cellphone will ring.  By the way - Dave got the job.
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  1. Congratulations on your milestone! We met on Brian Patteson's "White-faced Storm-Petrel" trip in August and I've followed your blog since. Now we need Chris to get 700 in the lower 48!

    Steve Bobonick
    Cincinnati, OH

  2. Now you can say, "I'm number 2! I'm number 2!"

  3. Hi Bob,
    I've been following you all year - congrats on taking over Second Place! I always look forward to your newest post - sorry to see it come to an end. When you first said you were going to do a Big Year I remember telling you that I hoped you
    would write a book about your year, but this blog may be better!

    Mike Purdy

  4. Congrats Bob Terry

  5. Forgot to check your blog yesterday and this am, so was surprised to see 2 new species this pm. Second place . . . quite a stretch from the original goal of 650! Great job! Renee