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10123Re: [BirdYak] Re: 40+ Gulls on Buchanan

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Jul 8, 2014
      Kevin in his message to BirdYak wonders on the origin of the California Gulls now on Rimrock and Buchanan Lakes. From Birds of Washington: status and distribution (Wahl et al.): “Adults and first-year birds appear in late June...observations in sw B.C in the 1950s and 1960s  found birds hatched and marked in Saskatchewan, Alberta, N. Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California...flocks of hundreds to thousands widespread along shorelines and estuaries of the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the ocean coast...surveys during July-October 1971-2001 found these the most numerous gull over the continental shelf and adjacent oceanic waters. About 80% of the 250,000 recorded over the outer continental shelf were at fishing vessels.”
      Anyone who has been on a Westport pelagic trip will attest to the enormous numbers of California Gulls off western Washington starting in late June and continuing through early fall.
      So, I believe what we are observing now both at Rimrock Lake and in the Yakima Valley is the annual post-breeding exodus of California Gulls from their interior North American nesting grounds to the coast. Mountaineers high in the Cascades see evidence of this migration, too, so the gulls are evidently flying westward along both river valleys and straight over the mountains.
      Andy Stepniewski
      Wapato WA

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