25 January 2011

BLKI at State Line Power Plant

I headed back to State Line Power to look for the Slaty-backed Gull, which coincidentally, was once again sighted for one day several weeks after it went missing. While there, I ran into several birders including John Kendall. We marvelled at the thousands of gulls along the horizon. This photo does not do the gull scene much justice as our estimates were between 5,000-6,000 gulls.

Looking east onto Lake Michigan from State Line Power.  23 JAN 2011.
We were treated to great views of a 1st winter Black-legged Kittiwake. The Kittiwake came in to feed behind the discharge and put on a great show in flight:

1st cycle Black-legged Kittiwake; 23 Jan 2011

We watched it successfully catch a couple of fish and off it went. I also spotted several adult Thayer's and this 1st cycle Kumlien's Gull:

1st cycle Kumlien's Gull. State Line Power, IN; 23 JAN 2011.
One interesting note is that 1st cycle Kumlien's were unusually scarce along the Great Lakes and in parts of Ontario this winter. I only observed 2 individuals this winter (one at Calumet Park on 30 Dec 2010 and this bird on 23 Jan 2011).