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Ross's Gull

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Nov 19 1:39 AM
      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

      {}~~{} 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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