24 May 2016

Little Gulls & Whaaa....

Manitowoc, Wisconsin scored big this past weekend. Charles Sontag & Mark Hodgson happened on an alternate White-winged Tern on Saturday, 21 May 2016 - only the 2nd record for the Western Great Lakes. Coincidentally, the first record also came from Wisconsin (Jefferson County; 05 July 1873. Ludwig Kumlien).

Bruce Heimer and I made the 3-hour jaunt for this one. It didn't take much to convince me as I bird this site multiple times in the Spring/Summer.

Here's my lousy photo of the tern:

And of course a few Littles:

1st Cycle Little Gull rebuking a similar-aged Bonaparte's Gull.
Most of the LIGUs found here are 1st summer birds. An apparent adult was reported moments before we arrived. We never did see it, but photos confirm at least 5 LIGUs were present this past weekend, including a 1st cycle with an almost full hood, decked out with pink blush throughout.

Is there a LIGU in this photo...?

Of course there is...
This one here was hawking insects over the impoundment for a few moments:

Beside hawking insects over the lake, the birds are here feeding mainly on dying alewives. Here's a glimpse of a small segment of the group flushing:

It's nice to see these diminutive, tern-like, gulls with their smaller cousins. Their feeding preferences, fight patterns and breeding habitats are much more alike when compared to those of the larger gulls.