[Tweeters] Lesser Black-acked and Glaucous Gulls at Lower Monumenal Dam

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Sun Jan 10 21:39:59 PST 2016

Tweeters and Inland Birders,

As Mike and MerryLynn Denny reported on Tweeters and Inland Birds, there's a spectacular congregation of gulls on the Snake River at Lower Monumental Dam. Denny Granstrand and I went there today and found many hundreds of gulls. Unfortunately, we went to the north side of the dam where viewing was somewhat distant. We would have done much better if we had approached from the south, via Eureka. Oh well.

Anyways, we saw at least three each of LESSER-BLACK-BACKED and GLAUCOUS GULLS, several THAYER'S, many hundreds of Californias, and lesser numbers of Herring, RIng-billed, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. We believe we observed the SLATY-BACKED GULL, discovered by Chris Lindsey Jan. 8, and seen again by the Dennys Jan. 9, but our view was too distant to confidently call this bird.

We also noted both Rock and Canyon Wrens, and had 80 so Gray-crowned Rosy Finches flying over the cliffs along SR-263, Devils Canyon Rd., about 3 pm. This is a most impressive Spokane Flood-gouged coulee, worth a detour to view and bird.

Mike suggests the gull extravaganza is on account of a die-off of shad. We noted a feeding frenzy of gulls below the dam, snatching these narrow (from a distance tubular-appearing) fish hanging from the bills of gulls.

Other birds taking advanage of this veritable buffet were loads of Double-crested Cormorants and Common Mergansers.

I thought it odd there was nary a Bald Eagle to be seen in the area.

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

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