Back to reporting birding results. I got up early on Monday morning in Mentor to much colder temperatures, picked up breakfast and headed to Edgewater Park west of my location and specifically to Edgewater Marina. Yesterday, Jen Brumfield, excellent birder, field guide leader and outstanding communicator of bird reports to the Ohio birding community, reported a Little Gull at Edgewater Marina. Edgewater Marina is east of the entrance to Edgewater Park, west of Wendy Park and right next to and west of the sewage treatment plant. Jen does an outstanding job of keeping all generations of Ohio birders up to date on the rarities seen along the Lake Erie lakefront in the Cleveland area. For those of us in the older generation, who have not yet made the switch to Facebook, Jen's timely and excellent personal reports and relaying of the reports of others to Ohio Birds list-serve is highly valued and appreciated! Thanks, Jen, and keep up the great work! Thanks too to Jerry Talkington, who also keeps us informed of the latest rarities that he is seeing. There are others who deserve mention here--John Pogacnik, Kent Miller and my good friends Dan Sanders and Doreene Linzell. Keep up with those reports! While I have been in the LRGV in Texas and the east coast in Delaware, I was able to keep track of where the Little Gull was being seen in the Cleveland area.
I arrived at Edgewater Marina to see a large flock of Bonaparte's Gull in the marina area right in front of the parking area and concentrated in toward the south and east edges and docks, apparently to avoid the high wind. This looked too good to be true. I could bird from the relative comfort of my car....but it was not to be. I couldn't find a Little Gull in this flock. Then I noticed a large flock of Bonaparte's Gull feeding in the churning lake to the north of the far east-west jetty that parallels the marina. I walked out the north-south jetty that is close to the treatment plant to get a better view but again could not find a Little Gull in this large feeding flock. Soon another birder walked out to join me with some welcome help looking. It was Chuck Slusarczyk, a familiar name from Ohio Birds, but whom I had not previously met. Neither of us could find a Little Gull in the distant feeding flock of Bonaparte's Gulls. We walked back toward the parking lot to check the resting flock again. There was some turnover occurring in this resting flock. Some birds were also flying and feeding in the marina. I returned to my car and Chuck lagged behind on the north-south jetty. Suddenly he shouted, " I got the Little Gull and think it is an adult." Chuck had never seen an adult before, and there was a great deal of excitement for both of us! New birds all around! I rushed out to join him and found the bird with his instructions. However, it didn't look quite right for a winter adult Little Gull to me, because the under-wings were not completely black, and there was some black showing in the primaries on the upper side of the wing at the tips. After watching the bird for a while, I went back to my car to retrieve my National Geographic Field Guide, 6th Ed. It was clear that this was a second winter Little Gull, with black in the primary and secondary feathers on the under-wing, a partial dark cap on the crown and showing some black in the primaries in flight and when sitting on the water. I thanked Chuck for his help in finding this gull, and we exchanged high fives through gloves no less. Even a second year bird was new for Chuck. We took lots of photos. Then the Little Gull briefly disappeared, having apparently landed. We found it again, and I got some good photos of the bird sitting on the water. I got some excellent photos as did Chuck. See my photos below.
|Little Gull, 2nd winter, lower, versus Bonaparte's Gull, upper right|
smaller bill, partial dark cap, no white wedge on upper wing primaries,
dark edges to primaries on upper wing, smaller than Bonaparte's Gull
|Little Gull, upper center,|
developing dark on primaries, secondaries and rest of underwing
support second winter
|Little Gull, sitting, lower right,|
note smaller size and wing tip differences with Bonaparte's Gull, upper
I still wanted to try for Ring-necked Pheasant in Ohio. The current best place I knew was Maumee Bay State Park, for relatively wild pheasants, where I had crowing male Ring-necked Pheasant every year for the past five but not this year..at least not yet, mostly because I had not been there in the optimum time in the spring. Or so I thought. There is no state authorized stocking program at Maumee Bay SP, of which I am aware, and no public hunting except for occasional lottery driven Canada Goose hunts, like this fall. Consequently, Ring-necked Pheasants at Maumee Bay SP are closer to wild than at other places, where cock-birds are released throughout the hunting season from November 1 to January 5, as many as four times, to facilitate good hunting success for youths and older hunters. It is a good theory about wildness at Maumee Bay SP. I headed west.
I tried for Ring-necked Pheasant at Maumee Bay State from about 1:00 pm until sunset walking the trails in the vicinity of the hill and also looking out over the golf course at the higher grassy areas between the fairways. No success. I decided to stay in the Toledo area and try again before and after dawn tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19.
Little Gull is new for the year raising the total to 700 + 2.