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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