Gull Workshop February 14th Summary

Five participants and I set out to a full day of “gullavanting” around Galveston Bay from Baytown to the Texas City Dike and back. We started at Thompson’s Fish Camp in Baytown, where we studied all age classes of the expected gulls, including Laughing, Ring-billed, and Herring. This site is ideal to obtain close and long studies of each species. A bird flew in that caught my attention and we got a 1st cycle Thayer’s Gull in the scope, the bird showed the typical pale, fine pattern, brown primaries, and paler secondaries. The rounder head and all dark bill also supported the identification. In flight we could see the light colored primaries and light brown tail. Unfortunately it flew off rather quickly.

Thayer's Gull Photographed by participant Teresa Connell

Thayer’s Gull Photographed by participant Teresa Connell

Other highlights included good numbers of Common Loon of Texas City Dike and two Common Goldeneyes. We gained further familiarity with the expected gulls. A short detour to San Jacinto Monument netted us the Red-naped Sapsucker, a great local rarity and lifer for some. Although not a gull we did not fell too “gullty” for seeing this bird. We saw it in the scope several times and noted how it differs from the expected Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

We returned to Ash Lake to study the flying gulls and gulls resting on the water. Among a small group of Herring Gulls we spotted a 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull, a great find at the end of the day and one I was hoping for everybody to see. A Merlin bombing past was the final bird of the day. Thank you for a great group, some amazing weather, a good variety of gulls with plenty of non-larid highlights.

1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull seen well by all participants Photo Stephan Lorenz

1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull seen well by all participants Photo Stephan Lorenz

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