Monday, April 7, 2014

Say Hello to My Little Gull Friend

This weekend, Connecticut was gifted with the arrival of a Little Gull.  Well, arrival implies that there was only one Little Gull around, turns out that the CT Shoreline is playing host to as many as 3 Little Gulls.  Little Gulls are one of the few times where the name is 100% appropriate for the bird.  The Little Gull is indeed the world's smallest gull.  While the vast bulk of the Little Gulls breed in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, they do have a few small and scattered colonies in Ontario.  The Little Gull prefers to eat insects and anything it can find on the surface of the water. This makes it similar to the Ross's Gull and the Bonaparte's Gull.

But that has little bearing on how the LIGU got to CT's coastline and how it was found.  Earlier in the week, one had been spotted in Stratford by a local birder.  So the probability was high that another would be close.  So when one was spotted Saturday Afternoon, I had to rush over to see it.  Unfortunately I was in the middle of a food shopping trip so the poor cashier had to work through my twitching and looking at my phone.  By the time I got over to Stratford, The bird had of course flown away.  Also by the time I got there, a small cadre of birders had joined up to find the gull.  It was great to see several birders at the lookout but it was also fun to see lots of people interested in what we were doing.  While most were confused by the notion of a "Little Gull" Aren't they all little?  Most seem excited to hear about this wayward Eurasian Gull and hoped that we find it

People came, people left, and a few relocations later, we found the bird flying about with a group of about 800 Bonaparte's Gulls.  How do you find a Little Gull amongst 800 Bonnies?  First thing to look for are the dark underwings.  That is the distinguishing mark of a Little Gull.  Which means that most time Gulling is spent minor details and poring over leg and eye colors and hoping that the birds stay still, in the search for a Little Gull, you can do those things, but you are also excited when they take off because then you can see the wings!

I could go on and on.  But instead I will say that the best thing to do when looking for wayward gulls and birds is to look in the field, study books at home, and look in the field!  Until the time, Get out and go birding!

The Little Gull flying away with many other gulls RBGU and BOGU

The Little Gull Closer Up, notice the dark underwings


AllAboutBirds Profile on the Little Gull - Link here

RSPB Profile on the Little Gull - Link here

8 comments:

  1. Until this moment, I have never heard of the Little Gulls. Very cool and so glad you were able to see them. Congrats!

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    1. Thanks! they were a lifer for me! Fast little birds too

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  2. The things you learn in blogland! Great post.

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    1. Thanks, I haven't quite become a hardcore Gull-er yet but definitely getting there

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  3. Another gull to add to my list of want to see birds. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure. it was a great bird to find!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. I have seen the Little Gull several time but it is not normally in m country.

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    1. It is very rare here but it seems like there's a bit of an influx of them! Thanks for reading!

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