Fw: ARCTIC TERN, FRANKLIN'S & SABINE'S GULLS IN THE NICOLA VALLEY

Wayne C. Weber contopus at shaw.ca
Sun Sep 8 07:09:25 PDT 2002


----- Original Message -----
From: Wayne C. Weber <contopus at shaw.ca>
To: BCINTBIRD <bcintbird at yahoogroups.com>; BC BIRDING
<bcprovbirding at yahoogroups.com>
Cc: KAMLOOPS NATURALISTS <knc-info at jsthrower.com>
Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2002 7:08 AM
Subject: ARCTIC TERN, FRANKLIN'S & SABINE'S GULLS IN THE NICOLA VALLEY


> Birders,
>
> I had a great day of birding in the Nicola Valley yesterday.
> Highlights were:
>
> ARCTIC TERN--  One bird carefully identified as it flew back and
forth
> in front of me at "Pennask Bay" on Nicola Lake (just north of the
> Pennask Lake Road junction near Quilchena). It was still in
> near-breeding plumage. I first noted that this tern was quite dark
> gray on the underparts-- about the same gray colour as the back. The
> tail was significantly longer than that of a Common Tern. The wings
> were an even silvery-gray above, without the darker outer primaries
> that are typical for Common Tern. A narrow but obvious black line
> could be seen on the trailing edge of the primaries from the
> underside. The bill was bright red, but I could not see whether it
had
> a dark tip. The head seemed shorter than that of a Common Tern,
> although proportions are not easy to judge unless both species are
> present. The flight seemed more buoyant and graceful than that of a
> Common Tern (I saw 60 Common Terns 2 hours later at Douglas Lake).
> Altogether, this bird had quite a different "jizz" from the Common
> Tern, a bird I see in good numbers every year. The long tail, dark
> gray underparts, and wing pattern were "clinchers" in my opinion.
>         This is my first sighting of ARCTIC TERN in the Nicola
Valley
> or anywhere in the southern B.C. Interior.
>
> FRANKLIN'S GULL--  One immature with 7 CALIFORNIA GULLS on the
gravel
> spit at the mouth of the Nicola River on Nicola Lake (north of the
> Douglas Lake turnoff). Although not as unusual as ARCTIC TERN, this
> was also my first for the Nicola Valley in many years of birding
> there.
>     The bird was sitting on the gravel bar most of the time, and
flew
> briefly a few times. It was much smaller than the nearby
Californias.
> It had the typical brownish crown and nape of this plumage, with
white
> "eyelids" set off against the dark background. On the ground, the
> mantle was grayish-brown, with contrasting very dark brown
primaries.
> In flight, a dark brown terminal tail-band was obvious. The bill was
> blackish, and the legs were reddish. The left leg appeared to be
> broken, and the bird adopted a curious tilted posture when on the
> ground, evidently trying to avoid putting any weight on the injured
> leg. I fear that it will not survive for long.
>
> SABINE'S GULL--  One adult (with about 60 COMMON TERNS) flying over
> the west end of Douglas Lake, about 7:00 P.M.  I first spotted this
> bird after scanning the loose flock of COMMON TERNS for about 10
> minutes. The gull's behaviour was very ternlike, circling and
dipping
> in much the same manner as the terns, although it landed briefly on
> the lake (1-2 seconds each time) about 3 or 4 times. The terns and
> gull appeared to be after flying insects rather than fish.
>         Although the gull remained 500 metres or more away from me,
> the field marks were clearly visible in the strong evening sunlight.
> The bird was similar in size to the COMMON TERNS. The signature
> wing-pattern of SABINE'S GULL-- gray mantle, triangular white wing
> patches, and black outer primaries-- was obvious. The bird appeared
to
> be still in near-breeding plumage, with a dark gray hood on the
head,
> although the bill colour could not be discerned. On a couple of
> occasions, the forked tail was noted, adding to the ternlike
> appearance of the bird.
>         There are a number of previous records of SABINE'S GULL on
> Nicola Lake and at Guichon Flats, but this is still a red-letter
bird
> anywhere in the Nicola Valley.
>
> Hopefully I will have time to provide details on some of the other
> good birds I saw yesterday, but not now-- I'm heading out birding
> again!
>
> Wayne C. Weber
> Kamloops, BC
> contopus at shaw.ca
>
>



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