Friday, March 2, 2012

I went back to the gull spot today

And what did I see? Well for the first time (Thanks to Mike and Jim Burrell) I actually busted out my scope and looked at the landfill proper... Turns out there's a duck-load more gulls that hang out there.

I spent a solid 4-5 hours in the area, and turned up the following guestimates:

Herring Gull: 600

Ring-billed Gull: 500 (total guesses, prob under-counted)

Kumlien's Iceland Gulls: ~25 (could be under-counted, but how do I know!? There were lots)

Thayer's Gull - 4 (2 dark Juv's, 2 adults)

Glaucous Gull: 11 (based on 1 3rd winter, 2 2nd winters, 3 adults and 5 juv's as  guess. Could easily be 15+)

Great Black-backed Gull - 5 (1 each of Juv, 2nd and 3rd winter, + 2 adults) .

Lesser Black-backed Gull - 3  (2 adults, 1 2nd winter)

Herring X Great Black-backed Gull hybrid - 1 (the rare 3rd winter)

Herring X Glaucous Gull -- Nelson's Gull -- 1 (adult)

2 Killdeer were also nice to see/hear.

Probably similar to other visits I've had, but I've never actually taken a look at the landfill itself. As expected, the really ugly/crazy gulls (hybrids etc) were only seen at the landfill. It makes me sad to see them at a distance, and not be able to get any photos!

I actually had a juvenile Herring Gull at the landfill (scope view only) that was REALLY crazy looking. And I mean CRA-ZAY-ZAY... looked to be totally in 1st basic plumage, but had an epic bi-coloured bill (juv Glaucous Gull like), and the craziest checker-pattern to the coverts/scaps/tertials that I may have ever seen on a HEGU in Ontario. It was hard to see the tail well at the distance, but it looked to have a moderate tail-band as well...

Now I once swore I would never call any HEGU in Ontario anything but a smithsonianus, but if I manage to get pictures of this beast (in the future), I may find myself reconsidering it..


Darkzilla and Chocolate Milk were on full display for prolonged periods in the parking lots again today. I think they're starting to enjoy the attention. Here's a pic of Chocolate Milk from the mid afternoon:


Another strong cell is pushing into Ontario (as noted by Fred Urie in the comment area in the last post). It is not nearly as big or powerful of a system as the last, but could still push a few things around.

A look at the current radar (Fri night). This storm is smaller than the last, with much more "local" winds.. (The last storm has far-reaching winds feeding it). The south winds (yellow) aren't quite going to make it into Ontario, and the strong 80kmh winds in the forecast will actually come from the "cold" side of the storm, from the WNW (pink arrows). Behind the row of potentially-deadly thunderstorms passing to the south of us. 

Always good to remember that rare birds don't arrive in force until ~ the last week of April, but some early highlights could turn up. After the last weather system (Feb 25) a few of my guesses for rare birds in Ontario were semi-correct with Mew/California Gulls + Ross's and Greater White-fronted Geese making some appearances on Ontbirds....

March actually appears to be the worst month of the year for mega mega rarities.... So if someone turns up a Eurasian Wigeon, we should all be happy.


  1. "March actually appears to be the worst month of the year for Mega mega rarities"

    And then a Heermans gull shows up.

    1. ain't that just the way it goes? I actually came to that conlusion last year, right before a Royal Tern showed up in Ohio..... Maybe I'll try it again next year?

      --- are you going to go for it?? I have a strong urge to twitch this beast...

    2. Ha, just yesterday I also said 'hopefully nothing too rare shows up in the next 2 weeks' - so much for that.