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Ross's Gull

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  • Guy McCaskie
    At about 3:00 PM today I drove up to the area of the boat launching site at Red Hill and was amazed to see an adult Ross s Gull in the shallow water
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 17, 2006
      At about 3:00 PM today I drove up to the area of the boat launching site at Red Hill and was amazed to see an adult Ross's Gull in the shallow water immediately to the north of the boat launch channel. The gull then flew to the shore and proceeded to catch flies on the wet mud. I made a couple of calls to alert local birders and awaited their arrival. The Ross's Gull remained within 100 feet of the spot where first seen, actively catching flies on the wet mud. Bob Miller and Kenneth Z. Kurland both arrived before dark, and photographs were obtained. Terry Hunefeld arrived after dark, but was able to see the bird with the aid of my headlights. The gull appeared healthy and in fine basic plumage - no worn feathers, and having a pink wash on the under-parts.

      Guy McCaskie
      954 Grove Avenue
      Imperial Beach, CA 91932

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bob Miller
      Hi all, A day to remember?! For sure!! I believe the bird was seen by everyone that came for it today with the exception of the last birder to arrive before
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 19, 2006
        Hi all,

        A day to remember?! For sure!! I believe the bird was seen by everyone
        that came for it today with the exception of the last birder to arrive
        before sunset. Sorry Ed, hope you get it in the AM!! The bird was on the
        south side of the boat launch late in the afternoon and about 3:45 or so it
        flew across to the north side. The birders watching it at that time thought
        it landed just on the north side of the jetty where it tended to spend most
        of it's time and where it was first located the day before. I happened to
        be on the north side of the jetty at that time but was scanning the open sea
        hoping to refind a Jaeger we had seen earlier in the morning and did not see
        the gull come across. So the last official sighting of the Ross's Gull was
        about 3:45pm as we never did relocate it though Ed and I were there till
        well after dark.

        Peter Weber and I were there for the grand spectacle at sunrise and had a
        grand time. The most humorous part of the morning for me, and you must
        understand a bit of twisted western humor here, was calling out STAMPEDE!!
        You see the bird was not being seen right away and a few birders who
        happened to be away from the main group, found it on the opposite side of
        the jetty and with a bit of gesturing got the groups attention. So here are
        some 50 plus birders who have driven all night long to see this grand life
        bird and I must say I was quite impressed that no one broke out in a mad
        dash dead run to get to the other side!! About the time the main group got
        about half way the gull flew across the jetty and right over the top of the
        lone spotting scope on a tripod that someone had left behind at the original
        location. OK so I am easily entertained!! For most of the rest of the
        morning the gull gave better looks than any photographer could ever hope for
        and I am sure there will be some of the most beautiful Ross's Gull pictures
        you could imagine.

        Peter and I left the group and went off in search of Blue-footed Booby. No
        such luck but we gave it our best shot! While out at the end of the Alamo
        River delta.... DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT high clearance four wheel drive.....
        we scanned Mullet Island for better than an hour. While there we had a few
        Bonaparte's Gulls out over the open sea and two Bufflehead along the
        shoreline. Most entreating though was a large Jaeger, Peter and I were of
        the opinion that it was Pomarine but I am no expert on Jaegers by any means
        and Parasitic would be the expected bird here so we leave it at Jaeger
        sp.... Double-crested Cormorants numbering in the thousands were streaming
        south over the open sea in small groups close to the water. While watching
        far out over the sea with the scope the Jaeger would come up from behind and
        above a string of cormorants and dive on the last bird forcing it to crash
        into the water. I watched it splash at least a dozen cormorants before it
        got so far out that it was over the curve of the horizon and out of sight.

        At Obsidian Butte there were two Immature Yellow-footed Gulls and one heck
        of a lot of everything else. Very impressive by any standard.

        We then went back for another look at the Ross's Gull and it was being
        photographed by oil drum sized lenses from within ten feet or so as it
        worked it way right up to the photographers!

        We then headed for the Sprague's Pipit field where Bob Ulvang was already
        looking at one. Right away we were on another and Peter got some great
        pics. Just as we were headed out of this vast area of dormant grass..... an
        immature Black-legged Kittiwake flies right between us from the southeast
        and proceeds to follow Sinclair Road due west toward the Salton Sea. Peter
        got decent pics as it went by. Wow. This had to be like floating in the
        middle of the Pacific Ocean and having a Song Sparrow fly by!!!

        On Garst Road there was a huge flock of Great-tailed Grackles. We had just
        stopped to glass the field being irrigated there when Nick and Mary Freeman
        and Paul spotted a partial leucistic Great-tailed Grackle. I was able to
        get a few pics of this very strange looking bird when Mike San Miguel drove
        by and was able to get a look at it as well.

        While standing at the tip of the jetty back at Re Hill till sunset we were
        able to get looks at one of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Ruddy Turnstone
        and the only Western Sandpiper I saw all day.

        Great day would be an understement!! Henry Detwiler was able to make it
        over from Yuma for the fun this morning and being much more efficient than I
        he was able to get his pics processed and a web page up with directions for
        visiting birders who might be fueling their chase cars. The web page can be
        viewed at

        (0V0) HAPPY BIRDING
        {}~~{} BOB MILLER
        Southwest Birders
        108 West I Street
        Brawley, CA. 92227
        Imperial County, CA
        http://www.southwestbirders.com <http://www.southwestbirders.com/>
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