My best bird of the day was the last bird of the day. I had already packed up, taken off my coat, gloves and hat and started to drive off. But before leaving the parking lot, I decided to do a quick binocular scan of the gulls resting across the river. Bingo! It took less than 5 seconds to pick out this Iceland.
|Adult Kumlien's Iceland Gull. New Buffalo, MI. 08 Nov 2014.|
I walked over, slowly approaching the gulls, and scanned but couldn't find the KUGU with the more distant Herrings. My problem was I was looking too far away. The bird, as luck would grant me, was resting right in front of me among the more docile Ring-billeds:
|All dark eye and darker than average wingtips.|
|P10 emerging with all white tip. P6-P9 with progressively dark markings. Inner secondaries and rectrices still molting.|
Now to rewind to earlier in the day. Before hitting New Buffalo, I spent a couple of hours on the beach at Michigan City. There was one wind surfer out, which to my advantage corralled all of the gulls to one side of the beachfront. I could see a couple of young Great Black-backeds from the car (they're pretty hard to miss) and so I was hopeful.
|LBBG (1st cycle), Herring (1st cycle), Herring (adult), GBBG (2nd cycle), Herring (2nd cycle).|
|LBBG (1st cycle). A few replaced upper scapulars.|
|LBBG (1st cycle). A slightly crisper and paler individual.|
|GBBG (2nd cycle).|
|Same individual pictured above. Note the faint mirror on P10.|
The Lessers, too, granted a flew flight shots:
So the season is off to a good start for both black-backed species, but a bit below average for Thayer's. I did have what I thought was a solid adult THGU, which I've decided is a mimic, white-winged, Herring. One of the trickiest Herrings I've encountered to date. See my next post on that bird!