10122Re: 40+ Gulls on Buchanan
- Jul 8, 2014This spring, and now summer I've seen small rafts of California Gulls on Rimrock Lake. I wonder if that's common, or maybe an indicator of a changing trend, at least for this year.
Late Sunday afternoon on Buchanan Lake we saw a flock of 14 or so gulls that appeared to be California Gulls. Another gull flew over the next freeway pond north. It appeared smaller and lighter. I thought it most likely a Ring-billed Gull. Thinking about another group of California Gulls I saw there recently, I wondered to Mary whether the low water behind Wanapum Dam might affect bird traffic, sending gulls and such our way.
This afternoon I saw a tight raft of gulls on Buchanan as I drove past on the freeway, so I went to Sarg Hubbard Park, parked, and hiked toward the lake. I figured they were the same ones we'd seen Sunday, and that Jeff Kozma and Richard Repp saw Monday. As I neared the Greenway Path I saw a flock of over 60 gulls thermalling high, then heading off to the east in fixed glides, as I've seen raptors do. I figured I'd missed the gulls on the lake, but I resumed my walk. I was rewarded with a raft of 50 California Gulls. Gulls kept dropping in in groups of 3 to 5, with a few departures here and there. When the raft count was 108, 38 were darker juveniles. My last raft count was over 140, counting by ones. The arriving gulls seemed to come mostly from the west. A few more arrived, but I didn't do another count. Then they began leaving, in similarly small sized groups, with a few departures of up to 15. At first the departures all went east, flying over or past me on the Greenway Path. Then they switched, still taking off southward into the wind, but making a u-turn to head north out of sight. Later they switched again, with all departures heading east. By the time I left at 5 p.m. the raft was down to 52. On the lake they all appeared to be California Gulls, and as they flew by I saw none that looked like another species. I put 210 on my checklist -- quite the contrast to the lone one I found at Costco Pond earlier in the year.
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