[Tweeters] BLACK-TAILED GULL today - yep!

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Tue Oct 4 16:45:09 PDT 2011

If only it could have been that easy on Sunday when I too was among the
disappointed dipping birder throng there assembled. Made a dash down
mid-afternoon today (Tu 10/04), apparently arriving just a few minutes after the
BLACK-TAILED GULL had itself arrived only a few minutes before. Nothing
like stepping out of the car to the tune: "It's here, 18th bird to the right
of the big rusty round ball." Indeed, virtually nearest bird to the
overlook on the first paired logs to the right (west) of the rusty ball and
unobscured in any way by all the other gulls assembled. Oh, how convenient!
Excellent lighting (bright but not too bright overcast) and perfect wind
conditions, SE 5-8kt, meaning all the gulls were facing left, tails angled
slightly toward shore. Watched the bird then from 2:40 to 3:05pm while all the
time it was very much alert, preening, and showing off all most relevant
details ever so nicely like the red-tipped bill, white-tipped black tail,
and noticeably darker hind crown and nape than anything else out there.
After 3:05, it tucked it's head in and apparently went to sleep and thus left
it so plus the wind had shifted just enough by a few degrees making the tail
more difficult to discern in satisfying detail, and I then left the scene
leaving one other birder there to continue watch at least for awhile. All
in all, there 2-3X more gulls on the log booms this afternoon than there
ever were all day Sunday. Legs didn't really seem any more yellowish, at
least to my eye, than all the surrounding California Gulls (lighting?), and
the mantle is indeed a tad darker than California but not something that
immediately leaps out of the crowd, rather something you come to realize
gradually after studying and comparing the gulls for a short while.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA
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