Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Back in Massachusetts, after having most of one day to get my act back together, my young birder friend Luke, who some of you may know, came down from Maine to spend the weekend birding around MA. Little did we know that we would be in for one of, dare I say, the worlds most elegant birds. 
It was Saturday morning, and Luke and I had decided to head down to the Plymouth area with Jeff Offermann to see if we could find any interesting ducks, of something of that ilk. We had been having some good birds, found a couple patches of open water that housed collectively 108 Gadwall, 2 Lesser Scaup, 10 "American" Green-winged Teal, and 13 Northern Pintail, among other waterfowl, an Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Towhee, and a couple Harlequin Ducks were probably the highlights. And then, when we were doing some thicket birding along a little side street in Plymouth, Rick Heil called me. I figured that it must have been something good, but when he said "Adult Ivory Gull, Eastern Point", I really wasn't ready for that haha. Needless to say, we instantly decided that a chance at an Ivory Gull is much better then looking at Song Sparrows and Carolina Wrens, and headed up to Gloucester, making the normally 2 hour drive a bit faster then normal. 
When we finally got there, and had almost made it down to the parking lot at the end, near where there is a little cove on the right hand side of the road, for those of you not familiar with the area, and as we neared the parking lot, we noticed The Gull coasting around the little cove not 30 feet away at times. It was almost instant birdvana. 
We ended up staying there watching the bird for 2.5 hours, despite the negative temperatures, and Luke and I liked the bird so much that we went back this morning to see it again. 
Yesterday it had more varied habits, but today it was walking around on the ice about 15-20 feet away at times, so much closer. Yesterday someone went to the fish pier at the base of the harbor, got a couple gutted striper carcasses, and brought them back to throw out on the ice to try and bring the bird in for great views. 
Jeremiah Trimble, the finder of this bird, and the hero of the hour, chucked the ex-fish out on the ice, but the bird didn't pay any attention to the fish until someone played a quick Ivory Gull recording, which caused the bird to shoot across the cove to see the source of the disturbance, and when he found no rival, he decided that some fish was a good consolation prize.
In the time that we were there yesterday afternoon, probably close to 70 people came and went, from as far away at CT, and today we had close to 30 in ~90 minutes, and from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and who knows where else. I can only imagine that with this bird showing well two days in a row, the crowd will do nothing but grow.
More pictures of the bird can be seen at:
Lists from the last couple days below.

Good birding,

Plymouth (0800-1200):

Canada Goose 615
Mute Swan 10
Gadwall 108
American Black Duck 125
Mallard 237
Northern Shoveler 1f
Northern Pintail 13
Green-winged Teal (American) 10
Ring-necked Duck 3
Lesser Scaup 2
Common Eider (Atlantic) 52
Harlequin Duck 2
Surf Scoter 27
White-winged Scoter 21
Long-tailed Duck 8
Bufflehead 24
Common Goldeneye 27
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 13
Red-breasted Merganser 35
Wild Turkey 7
Common Loon 7
Horned Grebe 8
Red-necked Grebe 3
Great Cormorant 12
Great Blue Heron 3
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Killdeer 1
Sanderling 16
Ring-billed Gull 93
Herring Gull (American) 69
Great Black-backed Gull 18
Rock Pigeon 18
Mourning Dove 13
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 6
Downy Woodpecker 6
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 5
Blue Jay 61
American Crow 35
Black-capped Chickadee 14
Tufted Titmouse 7
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 3
Eastern Bluebird 7
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 85
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 35
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 9
Eastern Towhee 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 14
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 16
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 13
Snow Bunting 5
Northern Cardinal 11
Eastern Meadowlark 1
House Finch 11
American Goldfinch 8
House Sparrow 45

63 species

Cape Ann--Dog Bar Breakwater (1310-1540):

American Black Duck 8
Bufflehead 4
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Common Loon 1
Great Cormorant 2
Ivory Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 8
Herring Gull (American) 400
Iceland Gull (Kumlien's) 12
Glaucous Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 200
American Crow 4

12 species

Cape Ann--Dog Bar Breakwater (0900-1030):

Canada Goose 15
Gadwall 12
American Wigeon 1
American Black Duck 8
Mallard 5
Common Eider (Atlantic) 15
Bufflehead 35
Common Goldeneye 6
Red-breasted Merganser 28
Common Loon 7
Great Cormorant 4
Ivory Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 22
Herring Gull (American) 580
Iceland Gull (Kumlien's) 40
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Glaucous Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 285

17 species

These reports were generated automatically by eBird v2(

1 comment:

Liam said...

what makes the Ivory Gull so rare? It is off course in New England?

593 of 720 is a pretty good ratio.