Monday, October 28, 2013

Lesser Black-backed Gulls - 27 Oct 2013

I surveyed southern Monroe Co. this morning to see if the high winds from yesterday brought anything interesting into the area.  I started out at Lotus Rd. and found a large flock of ~3500 Ring-billed Gulls crowded in the shallow portion of the creek bed.  Water levels were low as a result of the winds and lots of exposed mudflats were visible from the road.  Unfortunately I found no shorebirds.

Among the gulls were at least nine Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Of those birds, four were 1st cycle birds still in juvenal plumage.  Note the uniform brown feathers on the wings and back.  Each one is outlined with a uniform white fringe that gives the bird a scaly look. The dark eyeshadow is visible on this bird, which also shows a uniformly dark, large bill.  These digiscoped images were taken at 75X eyepiece magnification and 30mm lens magnification on the Nikon V1 and Zeiss Diascope w/ Digidapter™ for better than 6075 mm focal length.


I then drove over to the foot of Erie Rd. and walked the Lake Erie shoreline in front of the J.R. Whiting Power Plant.  Among the ~400 Bonaparte's Gulls were a half-dozen Forster's Terns and 1 Great Black-backed Gull.  Six Great Blue Herons occupied the shoreline south of the discharge canal while dozens of Double-crested Cormorants  flew along the horizon.

A flock of 20 shorebirds (guessing Dunlin) flew by at a distance heading north toward Luna Pier. So I headed back and drove to the foot of Luna Pier Rd.  Not much was going on, but I did witness a steady stream of Tree Swallows moving along the shoreline to the south.  Groups of 5-6 birds were passing by every 30 seconds or so.  Two more Great Black-backed Gulls were drifting out in the open waters north of the pier.

A stop at Sterling State Park yielded a nice mix of ducks in the ponds surrounded by the old bike trail.  Mallard were mixing with Gadwall, Wood Duck, dozens of Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, and American Wigeon.  A couple dozen Great Egrets were still hanging around, as were several American Coot.

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