[Tweeters] Black-tailed Gull & Hoquiam, 11/1

Michael Woodruff crazybirder98 at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 1 23:43:23 PST 2009

Hi Tweeters,

Today (11/1) Kerry Turley, John Hebert, Kevin Black, and I made the trek west to Hoquiam and then back to Tacoma. From 7-10am in beautiful weather we had likely 2 PALM WARBLERS along Airport Rd (one hanging out in the vicinity of the first shed east from the 'T') and the CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (near the N end of Paulsen Rd). We dropped by again after birding a bit at Ocean Shores, but still no longspur. To our knowledge nobody saw it today.

We arrived at Marine View Drive in Tacoma around 3:30pm and began scanning the roosting gulls with other folks. The gull hadn't been seen for a few hours and light was getting difficult. We spent a good deal of our daylight studying one particular gull which turned out not to be the Black-tailed Gull. I wanted to caution observers about this bird -- this gull does indeed have a black tail and a bit of a black ring on the bill, but it does not have the crisp white trailing edge to the tail or the extent of black on the bill. Its head also is fairly evenly dark-smudged, instead of the white forehead and dark nape effect that this Black-tailed Gull exhibits. It also has a more horizontal sleeping posture not like most of the California Gulls, so seems to stick out. Be careful!

This "fake" bird took up most of our daylight since it spent most of its time sleeping and not cooperating. Only a few minutes after our B.C. friends left, and by this time a fair bit after sundown, I was scanning in last-ditch effort and spotted the BLACK-TAILED GULL roosting with the other gulls. We all got excellent and satisfying looks at it for just a few minutes before it flew off to the south with the other gulls (about 15 minutes after sundown). Apparently the gulls don't roost there but head out and away as the light is fading. I thought this might be of interest to those looking for the gull late in the day.

A rewarding day!
Michael Woodruff
College Place / Spokane, WA

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