[Tweeters] Lesser Black-backed Gull, S. end Lk Washington

Charlie Wright c.wright7 at comcast.net
Sun Dec 11 22:26:58 PST 2005

This afternoon I was a witness to the amazing stream of gulls arriving at
Lake Washington from the Cedar Hills landfill. As usual, the peak numbers
weren't until dusk, which is of course frustrating. After checking all the
gulls (around 2000) bathing and loafing on the Cedar River sand bar, I was
scanning the multitudes of gulls coming into the log booms on the eastern
shore, from the overlook at the north end of Gene Coulon Park. Somewhere
over 10,000 gulls were on the lake by 4:35, when it was too dark to continue
scanning. More were still coming in.

At about 4:05pm I located an interesting gull with uniform, dark cold brown
wings, oily-black primaries, white head with slight dusky mask, and mainly
white underparts. It spread its wings twice and revealed a white rump and
high-contrast tailband. There was no hint of a pale window in the inner
primaries. The bird's size was just perceptibly smaller than a Herring Gull,
but notably sleeker- and lighter-looking. The bill was entirely black as far
as I could tell, and while on the heavy side for LBBG, well within range.
The bird was swimming in the water just beyond the logboom when I observed
it for about 10 minutes.

I don't know what the chances of this bird being seen again are, as there
are a lot of gulls out there. Certainly there are other birds waiting to be
found though, so I highly recommend a visit around sunset.

Charlie Wright
Bonney Lake, Washington

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