09 January 2013

California & Thayer's Gull on the Niagara River

Greg Neise and I recently spent a day birding with Jim Pawlicki on the American side of the Niagara River. It was a fun day of watching gulls, including this gorgeous adult California Gull:

CAGU. Devil's Hole SP, NY; 28 December 2012.
We also got great looks at this individual:

This bird's identity had been questioned by several observers, causing brief confusion. This was mainly because it was observed at a distance in flight, giving the impression of a Slaty-backed.

In its childish, drunkin' state.
Seen from behind, with a 1st cycle Herring Gull (facing the observer).
We finally came to the consensus that this is a juvenile Thayer's Gull, a good bird for the Niagara region.
There was also this NE American Herring:

The extensive white tip to P10 thayeri-like pattern on P9 is suggestive of the so-called Newfoundland population.
And a couple more Kumlien's:

Adult Kumlien's Gull with Herrings.
2nd cycle Kumlien's Gull.
And some miscellaneous shots:

American Herring Summit!
A "pink" Ring-billed with extra bright bare parts.
GBBG (left), LBBG (right).
Jim introduced us to his local passerines that come right in to the sound of his whistle:

Greg releasing his powers into this Tufted Titmouse.
The Robert Moses Hydroelectric Power Station. This is part of what attracts so many gulls!
And finally, this young Red-tailed came right for my head with its landing gear (talons) extended:

Evidently, it thought my trooper hat was a rabbit or squirrel. If it wasn't for Jim's last second warning and me flinching, it probably would've put a "little" scratch on me. Now mind you, our bodies were concealed behind a brick wall and all this bird can see from the other side of the river was our heads. Here's the famous hat: