|The "Many Times II". Sunrise at Burnham Harbor. Chicago, IL.|
The highlight of our trip came at about 10:00 a.m. when I spotted a darker gull in the wake of the boat. It appeared smaller than the surrounding Herrings and more refined. I quickly checked off the bill pattern and eye color and immediately settled for California Gull. I waited for it to extend its legs, saw that they were yellow and called out "CALIFORNIA GULL".
|California Gull (adult). Chicago, IL. 27 October 2013.|
Everyone was able to get excellent looks as it continued to make passes behind the boat. Total observation time was between 8-10 minutes. It was a lifer for some people and a state bird for several, including a very long-time Illinois birder who had just mentioned this to me before the boat ride.
We also had 6 Thayer's Gulls (3 adults, one 2nd cycle, two 1st cycles). This was an interesting experience in that we're just starting to see THGUs on land, suggesting to me that many more Thayer's than we're aware of may be arriving earlier in the Fall. Are many of these early arrivals spending their time on the lake right now?
|Thayer's Gull (1st cycle). Chicago, IL. 27 October 2013.|
A big thanks to Geoff Williamson for organizing the trip. It was a fun day for sure!
For more details on this trip and a complete species list, see: http://goo.gl/VjMprF