[Tweeters] Slaty-backed Gull at Renton 1-1-07

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Mon Jan 1 17:20:03 PST 2007

Hello Tweets,

The adult SLATY-BACKED GULL made a nice showing for several birders at the mouth of the Cedar River in Renton this afternoon. We arrived at 1:40pm during a passing rain shower and within 5 minutes the bird showed up and offered birders great scoping views,as it walked around on a sandy spit,then swam in the water close to shore then preened.We joined the group of birders that were already standing and watching the bird including Bruce Labar,who helped key us onto the bird. It was a spectacular and classic bird showing all the diagnostic field marks of this species. While we watched the Slaty-backed Gull several of us commented on the bird having a noticeable limp,so it does appear the bird is injured to some degree. The bird remained until exactly 2pm until it flew off alone to the south flying towards then through a gap in the large Boeing Plant buildings. The Slaty-backed Gull was viewed amongst a very small flock of gulls at the mouth of the Cedar River and we were actually expecting gull flocks of 3,000+ birds,but we won't complain. We remained until 3pm before heading home and were then joined by Gary Bletch and Howard Armstrong,so perhaps they will have good luck seeing the bird if the Slaty-backed Gull reappeared. We felt fortunate to see the Slaty-backed Gull without much effort at all since we saw the bird so quickly and that makes birding that much more fun,as well as studying the bird too for a small length of time. 


Please be aware that there is a detour to the mouth of the Cedar River if coming from I-405 around a portion of the Boeing Plant complex,but the detour signs are well marked.

While scoping through the small gulls flocks as many came and went several of us located 3-4 adult Western Gulls,5+ adult Herring Gulls and 1-2 adult Thayer's Gulls along with the small assortment of "Olympic"Gulls,Mew and Ring-billed Gulls. Several of us also located a few pure Glaucous-winged Gulls too. Near the end of our visit it began to rain harder and visibility out over Lake Washington was very limited. A small number of Western Grebes were noted,as well as a few other waterbird species including 3 Barrow's Goldeneyes. A single Spotted Sandpiper was observed along the immediate Cedar River near the north parking lot and at least one Yellow-rumped Warbler was present in he shrubbery surrounding the fence,as we stood from the outside scoping the gulls. We were also informed by a few birders that the 1st year Glaucous Gull was seen earlier in the day at the mouth of the Cedar River,but that bird was not present during our visit.

Earlier in the day we visited Sandy Daniel's home near Auburn,where the GRAY-HEADED JUNCO made it's appearance from her backyard beginning at 12pm then again at 12:45pm. The bird during both observations was very jumpy and nervous compared to seeing the bird on the 29th of December. Nonetheless,it was great seeing the bird again! Sandy continues to allow birders to come view the Gray-headed Junco in limited and small numbers,so if you wish to see the bird please e-mail her at the following address:  ladyhawk707 at msn.com  . Also present in her yard this afternoon were up to 3 Evening Grosbeaks,10-12 Red-winged Blackbirds, 7+ Purple Finches and 7 Am.Goldfinches along with a few more common species for her yard.  All in all a nice relaxing day to begin 2007!

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit513 at msn.com
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