08 February 2015

Adult Nelson's Gull: Calumet River

I spent a few hours gull-watching along the Calumet River on Chicago's far southeast side this morning. A little patience was rewarded with an adult Nelson's Gull (Glaucous x Herring hybrid).

Nelson's Gull (adult). Chicago, IL. 08 Feb 2015.
Photo slightly underexposed, but still noticeably bigger and paler than the Herrings seen here.
Besides being larger and paler than all of the surrounding Herrings, the wing projection is short like Glaucous. The wingtips are colored with a diluted dark gray and show limited pigmentation that's restricted to the outer webs of the outer 5 primaries.

Another exciting sighting for the day was this ever-wandering 2nd cycle Kumlien's that I've now seen three times this season at three different sites (click here to read more about this distinctive bird):

Kumlien's Gull (2nd cycle). First seen at the Lake County Fairgrounds on 23 December, then at the Museum Campus on 25 December 2014.  Chicago, IL. 08 Feb 2015.

Beside the Nelson's and Kumlien's, I recorded every age of Great Black-backed today, along with a 2nd cycle Glaucous, 2nd cycle LBBG and an adult Thayer's. Twice, gulling was interrupted by a Red-tailed Hawk and then subsequently by a 2nd winter Bald Eagle. Interestingly, a few Herrings began circling around the Bald Eagle and escorted it down the river - something I've never seen.

Great Black-backed Gull (1st cycle). Chicago, IL. 08 Feb 2015.
Great Black-backed Gull (2nd cycle). Chicago, IL. 08 Feb 2015.

6 days until Gull Frolic 2015!!!