Saturday, November 5, 2016

Brig 11/5--Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull, Gull Pond
Even though Brig only has about a mile and half of the wildlife drive open, I still thought it was worth the drive to go on Mike's & Pete's trip this morning. At this time of year, duckage predominates and that was the case at both the Gull Pond and in the SW Pool: 14 species of geese, swans or ducks (including a couple of early Canvasbacks that Pete found) along with Pied-billed Grebes and coots. There were also hundreds of yellowlegs and Dunlins. By the time we got off the dike, around 11 o'clock, I had around 40 species, not bad.

We took a quick run down to Absecon Creek in the hope of finding something rare but the most interesting bird we found down there was a large flock of Fish Crows. After lunch the group was going up to Great Bay Blvd in Tuckerton, but I demurred. I have my own way of birding Tuckerton--I prefer walking rather than driving slowly along peering into the marshes. Instead, I hung around Brig, walking along the old railroad bed trail and down to Gull Pond with another birder I ran into. We added a few birds to the day list and were standing around the parking lot when a guy I met a couple of months ago at Sandy Hook came up to us and asked if we'd seen the Black-headed Gull. Where? At the Gull Pond where we had just been standing (but, without a scope and not really looking closely). My friend was a little skeptical at first, but two months ago our informant had found a Parasitic Jaeger harassing the terns, so I told him this guy knew what he was talking about and ran (well, walked very fast) for my car.

In Europe, a Black-headed Gull is about as common as one of our Ring-billed or Herring Gulls, but I've only seen a couple in the states and they were both in Delaware. When we 3 reconvened at the Gull Pond, the BHGU was easy to spot amid the flock of Greater Yellowlegs. It was the only gull there, so that was a relief. Usually you have to sort one out from a flock of other gulls. But this one was obvious: white head with an "ear spot;" bi-colored bill; orange legs, soft gray mantle.

Check 'em off:
Year birdü
Jersey liferü
County liferü

In these incredibly dreary times, it is moments like these that have kept me from slipping totally into the slough of despair.

For the day: 55 species
Brant    50
Canada Goose    25
Mute Swan    7
Wood Duck    2
Gadwall    13
American Black Duck    35
Mallard    50
Northern Shoveler    18
Northern Pintail    10
Green-winged Teal    5
Canvasback    2
Lesser Scaup    1
Hooded Merganser    10
Ruddy Duck    10
Pied-billed Grebe    2
Double-crested Cormorant    11
Great Blue Heron    5
Great Egret    1
Snowy Egret    4
Turkey Vulture    2
Northern Harrier    2
Sharp-shinned Hawk    1
Bald Eagle    1
Red-tailed Hawk    1
American Coot    17
Black-bellied Plover    2
Dunlin    200
Greater Yellowlegs    440
Lesser Yellowlegs    1
Black-headed Gull    1
Ring-billed Gull    1
Herring Gull    26
Great Black-backed Gull    3
Belted Kingfisher    1
Red-bellied Woodpecker    3
Peregrine Falcon    2
Blue Jay    6
American Crow    65
Fish Crow    30
Tufted Titmouse    1
Red-breasted Nuthatch    2
Carolina Wren    2
Golden-crowned Kinglet    3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet    1
Eastern Bluebird    6
American Robin    16
Gray Catbird    1
European Starling    100
Cedar Waxwing    1
White-throated Sparrow    1
Song Sparrow    6
Red-winged Blackbird    2
House Finch    1
American Goldfinch    1
House Sparrow    3

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