New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Post Nor'Easter Windy Wings" continues, and Day 7- "Lucky 786"

    "Post Nor'Easter Windy Wings"continues-  It didn't take much coaxing, many of the Gulls came right up the the snow covered boat ramp heading into the stiff wind, including the first winter Iceland Gull.-

     Nice image of the back lit Iceland Gull showing the translucence of the primaries; a gift from the bright sun-

     The blue sky frames the soft plumage of this bird-

     The Iceland Gull lands on the ice into the strong wind. This Gull like the other Gulls has a bit of a challenge trying to stop itself from being pushed backwards by the wind. With a bit of maneuvering and sharp nails, it manages to hold on. (You can see the Gull bending its digits [or toes] and digging in its nails as an anchor to grip the ice.-

    More flying images of this beautiful Gull-

      It gives the snow another look for any missed kibbles-

     Found a few!-

     Many Gulls circled over the area, and the Iceland Gull seems to be territorially zeroing in on this adult Ring-billed Gull....

     ..... it has obviously made up its mind and found its target. It moves closer......

     .....and grabs the Ring-billed Gull...... the rump in the area of the uropygial gland causing the Ring-billed Gull to react and cry out!-

     The Ring-billed Gull manages to free itself from the Iceland Gull......

     .....and flies off announcing its disapproval to the Iceland Gull......

     .....that just flies off probably satisfied with the encounter!-

     Another back lit shot that I like-

    An Elmer Crowell influenced first winter Iceland Gull decoy that I carved for Jen (for Christmas) to add to her collection.-

    A few more images of the Gull-

     Its obvious the wind was blowing!-

     While I was having fun with the Iceland Gull, Jen located another first winter Iceland Gull. It was crouching on the ice with other Gulls on the far side of the Cove. This Gull never left its resting spot. Jen also located a Lesser Black-backed Gull that I only had one brief look at. I tried to take a quick image of it, but it got lost in a flock of Gulls that got spooked by a Red-tailed Hawk that flew over the Cove. I tried to locate it again but I was never able to. did. But the quick look at it that I did have was of a third winter bird, not an adult.-

     Day 7, Monday, December 31, Circle Beach, Madison, CT-  "Lucky 786" New Years Eve!! I had to drop a few items off at Jen's parents house, and since they live down the street and two minutes from Circle Beach, lets see if the Iceland Gull was there!  Walking onto the beach the Gulls reacted the way they always do. Within a minute, over three hundred Gulls were noisily flying to the beach from all directions: from the west, east, offshore and from the East River marsh.

     The Iceland Gull wasn't any different. The Gull appeared from the east, and flew over the cottage to my left just as it always does. (note I have included enough images of this Gull in my reports, so I will start limiting them. Since these are daily reports and part of this birding diary, I will only be posting of few of them from now on as needed).

     It then made a wide circle over the area.....

        .....and then landed on the roof of the cottage (just as it always does)-

      Then it makes two wide circles over the other Gulls ......

     ......and lands (most of the time) in the corner of the small beach.-

     A really handsome Gull-

      West Wharf, Madison- "Lucky 786" Saying good-bye to the Iceland Gull, I headed home. On my way down to Starbucks in town, I decided to stop at West Wharf, there are usually a handful of Gulls there. Since my last visit there was a few months ago, it was worth looking.

     As usual there were only a dozen or so Gulls there. Just as I was ready to leave, I spotted an orange flash flying over my truck. Suddenly there it was; a tagged Ring-billed Gull with # A786 on the bright orange patagial tag. I knew this Gull was part of the Mass. Gull banding program.

     I have seen and photographed over a dozen of these Gulls in the past few years. I reported everyone to Dr. Ken MacKenzie who is one of the Biologists of  the program. The information supporting this Gull is included at the bottom of this report.-

   Why "Lucky 786".....Being New Years Eve and the end of the year, the number 786 just flew in to me! It was worth at least one lottery ticket with those numbers?! Jen and I just about never play the lottery, and as it turns out, 786 is just another number!! But it was the last tagged Gull of the year....and I feel lucky to have seen it!

      Ring-billed Gull A786-

     The Gull was captured and tagged/banded on November 25, 2012 at Carson Beach in Boston. It was an adult male with patagial tag "A786", red leg marker # 468, and Fed. band # 0894-68485. This was the first sighting of this Gull since its capture.

               Part 4, Day 8- "Laruds to Start the New Year" continues......

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