Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Cape Henlopen SP

Taj Schottland and I spent Saturday morning at Cape Henlopen Sate Park scouring the veg for migrants. We found a Common Yellowthroat, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and two Red-eyed Vireos. Pretty lame, right? It got better as soon as we walked out to the beach near the hawk watch. We found a decent-sized flock of gulls resting on the beach containing Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring, and Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There were five Lesser Black-backed Gulls mixed in with the flock. We later had two flyovers.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls are relatively common along the Delaware coast in fall and winter, but can be found year round.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls records for August through March. Credit – eBird.org

I cannot remember the ages of all five gulls, but I have photos of at least three different birds. Two adults and one immature bird. I don’t have much experience with ageing, but I think the immature bird is a second or third winter bird. Suggestions or corrections are greatly appreciated.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Second or third winter Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

The four bottom photos were digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter.

Again, let me know in the comments what you think about the ageing of these gulls. Thanks!

Until next time, bird hard my friends.

Heading back to the desert.

In one week, I will be heading back to the southwest and starting field work for Great Basin Bird Observatory. I will be conducting landbird surveys along the lower Colorado River. The field season runs from March 5 through the middle of June. I spent last summer in the same area surveying for the southwestern Willow Flycatcher. For this position, I will be doing area searches and spot mapping every bird that I observe. It should be a rockin’ field season. Here are some photos from last summer:

Burrowing Owl

Anna's Hummingbird

Arizona's 20th state record of a Laughing Gull

Brown-crested Flycatcher with a Great Horned Owl feather in its bill.

Clark's Grebe

Laughing Gull: A rarity in Arizona

After completing surveys for southwestern Willow Flycatchers yesterday morning, I decided to check out Hart Mine Marsh on Cibola NWR while waiting for my coworker to finish with his surveys. As I walked around the marsh, I was surprised to see two gulls on the water. One was a Laughing Gull, which is considered a rare species according to Arizona Field Ornithologists. I managed to get a few decent photos of the bird.

Laughing Gull (photo taken by Tim Schreckengost)

Laughing Gull (photo taken by Tim Schreckengost)

Laughing Gull (photo taken by Tim Schreckengost)

Laughing Gull (photo taken by Tim Schreckengost)

Hart Mine Marsh