Sunday, December 15, 2013

Glaucous Gull & Winter Wonderland

Late afternoon on Wednesday I saw a gull at Wheatley Harbour.  It was about the same size as the Herring Gulls, and although at first glance it looked like a Glaucous Gull, I started second guessing myself due to it's size, rounder head, and smaller bill. All the Glaucous Gulls I ever seen (and down here it isn't a daily event at the right time of year) were always larger than Herring Gulls, with a longish head and rather large bill. I actually started to think it was a larger 1st winter Kumlien's Gull with a bicoloured bill...and a short primary projection...?.....huh...nope...That doesn't seem right either...The bird also had no darkish band in the tail, and in flight it was overall uniform in colour.
At this point my mind started to wander, a very dangerous thing which causes many birders to just call it anything.  Maybe a hybrid?
Long story short, (and after asking the opinion of a few others) it appeared to be the painfully obvious one, a 1st winter Glaucous Gull. A small one, but a Glaucous Gull none the less. I'm actually quite embarrassed by not knowing what it was outright, but I guess we all have an off day.
 Glaucous Gull with Herring Gulls.  In this photo it actually appears larger than the Herring Gulls

 In this photo, the Glaucous Gull appears to be the same size as the Herring Gulls.  Earlier the Glaucous Gull was sitting in a row with the Herring Gulls and looked almost exactly the same size.

Definitely a snowy one for the start of this year's Christmas Bird Counts.  Windsor reported 22 cm of snow over Saturday.  Kind of reminds me of the winters of my youth when we actually had this much snow. It will probably be all gone by Friday as the forecast calls for 5 Celsius and rain.  It will be interesting to see what gets reported at feeders in southern Ontario now.  I have mine setup. If Santa could send me a Golden-crowned Sparrow for Christmas I promise to be a good really I mean it this year...
Photo out the window after Saturday's snowfall.  Hummingbird feeder in the foreground (not much action there recently), another feeder setup in the background (with a chicken coop behind it if you were wondering) and a now frozen bird bath amongst the cedars, spruce and tamaracks)

1 comment:

  1. I have seen Iceland with bicoloured bill though.
    Gulls, gulls, gulls......!