Great Black-backed Gull seen late PM
zeledonia at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 16 21:07:28 PST 2004
I spent this afternoon studying the gulls at Gene Coulon Park and the Cedar River mouth in Renton. The Great Black-backed Gull appeared around 4:50 PM on the bar at the mouth of the Cedar River and stayed for about 25 minutes before flying off to the East, toward the Boeing buildings, at 5:15. Despite scrutiny of the gulls at both sites by numerous observers, I did not hear reports of the GBB earlier in the day.
There were a few hundred gulls each at Gene Coulon Park and the Cedar River, with a few Thayer's, Herrings, Westerns, Ring-bills, and Mews mixed in with all the Glaucous-winged and hybrids. There was a second-winter Glaucous Gull at Gene Coulon Park and (per other observers) another Glaucous at the Cedar River. The number of gulls on the lake during the day was less than previously reported, but large numbers flew in just after sunset.
I arrived at the Cedar River mouth (from Coulon Park) around 4:30, and the dozen or so birders there informed me the Great Black-backed Gull had not been seen. There were a few hundred gulls around the river mouth and on the sand spit. Nearly everyone left shortly, but Dan Dunphy and I stuck around while the light lasted. Small groups of gulls were moving onto the lake from the south, up the Cedar River and over the Boeing property. Around 4:45 some 5000 gulls flew in from the south. Most kept moving north out onto the lake, but a few settled in at the river mouth. After scanning the flock flying over, I went back to scoping the gulls on the spit and discovered the Great Black-backed about 50 yards out. We observed it for about half an hour before it flew off to the east towards the Boeing buildings and out of view at 5:15. Unfortunately the light was fading fast, particularly by the time the bird was seen in flight, so I have nothing to add to other observers' descr!
I also observed a gull briefly at close range at 3:00 in Gene Coulon Park that may have been an adult Glaucous x Glaucous-winged hybrid. Structurally, it was like a stocky Glaucous-winged. It had very pale gray, almost white primary tips and the mantle color was between that of Glaucous and Glaucous-winged. The head and neck were less heavily marked than most Glaucous-wings present. One more interesting bird to keep an eye out for.
Other birds in the area:
Greater White-fronted Goose (~15)
Snow Goose (1)
zeledonia at yahoo.com
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