[Tweeters] Blk-tailed Gull & L. Longspur - Tacoma 10-14-09

Lynn & Carol Schulz linusq at worldnet.att.net
Thu Oct 15 08:08:35 PDT 2009

Hi Tweets:
Many thanks to Charlie Wright and all the other folks who helped me see my nemesis
bird, the Black-tailed Gull yesterday. After burning my eyes out at the coast a few
years ago
trying to view the Blk-tailed Gull, a bird of Japan, I had given up on ever seeing
one. That bird, a first for WA state, was also discovered by Charlie.
Yesterday, Wed, Oct 14 we viewed the flying Bl-t Gull across the bay from the
second turnout. It was flying in front of the Simpson Plant just out from the mouth
of the Puyallup River. I looked at my map, and calculated that we were viewing the
flying gulls from about 1.8 miles away. The Simpson plant has steam plumes rising
from it, and a huge pile of sawdust.
The best field mark for me after Bobbi Pearson first spotted the gull flying and then
Brian Bell helped me zoom in on it, was its extremely dark back and wings. The
wings appeared no longer to me than the other numerous Calif. Gulls. It was hard to
see the black on the tail, but you could see it briefly as the bird banked over the
water. At that time about 10:15am, the heavy rains had not arrived yet. But they
did eventually, and it became harder to view. I retired to drink coffee in my truck.
Only Vera Cragin of Tacoma stayed to view in the rain through her scope.
At about 11:30 or so, the rain cleared a little, and before I left the site, I went
out to see how the intrepid Vera was doing. Wow. She had it perched on the
small log boom that is about 100 yards from the pullout view point. I hurried to get
my scope on it, and we had excellent views. It was perched with some Calif. Gulls
behind a seal, which was behind a small log w/ a steel ring on it. It had very dark,
folded wings, a longer bill, and shorter legs than the nearby Calif. Gulls. Its nape
was very dark, appearing like a collar around the back of the neck. It flew a short
distance on the little log boom, and we got to see the black band on its tail. Wow!
Thanks Charlie!
After that, I went up the hill on hwy 509, and turned left on Le Lou Wa at the
Brown's Pt shopping village. I followed Le Lou Wa, the main road w/ a yellow line,
all the way to the Brown's Point light house park. There is a big closed iron gate
there, but you can park and walk in a path on the left side of the gate. I wandered
around the park for quite awhile, and a few other birders were there. It was raining
and windy. Most all the birders left, and had not seen the Lapland Longspur. Dave
and Ron showed up, and were looking at a bird on the lawn. I paused near the blue
garbage can, which is down to the left of the point when you look out at the water.
As I was looking toward the guys, the Longspur ran across in front of me to the first
log next to the lawn and ducked underneath the log. Then the guys refound the bird
between the logs in the grass. The it hopped up to the top of the log, and just
huddled in the rain. It did not look too well, so I hope it does stay awhile. The
time we observed it was probably about 1:15pm or so. It appears to be a
winter-plumaged female, is about the same size as a nearby Song Sparrow, and is quite
colorful, especially when you can view the left side of its head.
I then packed up my wet gear and went to Sportco, the Costco of cheap sporting goods.
It's in Fife. I bought inexpensive water-proof boots, and an inexpensive, waterproof
pair of bins. It was a great day! Thanks everyone!
Yours, Carol Schulz
Des Moines, WA
linusq at att.net

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