Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Nice Gull Consolation

Hi everyone,

Today on October 31st, 2013, for my Trick-or-Treating I headed out to the Glendale Recharge Ponds and Lake Pleasant in hopes of finding a Heermann's Gull.  When Monday's outbreak occurred at Glendale, I was stuck at work for the entire day.  It was heartbreaking, and I was even thinking about going out to Glendale that night with a spotlight to try and see that Gull.  I didn't want to get in any trouble, so I didn't.

At Glendale today, no gulls were present.  I did see the Heermann's Gull's footprint, however.  Can I count that somewhat?  The best bird at Glendale was the DUNLIN that has been present.  I located it by it's call note, which helps a lot of times with shorebirds as they make their way across these ponds.  Also present were three BUFFLEHEADS, a stunning drake and two hens.  I also had 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS and 1 PRAIRIE FALCON at Glendale.  As I made my way out of the basins, one of the Peregrines sat on a lower power pole and was fearless of me!  It was cool to see.


American Pipit-Takeoff!


I made may way to Lake Pleasant Regional Park and got there at 11 A.M., and I stayed there for over three hours.  Lake Pleasant is in both Maricopa and Yavapai Counties.  It's usually very good for seeing gulls throughout the year, especially during the winter months.  I started at the southern and main side of the Park and scanned the lake patiently from various lookouts.  WESTERN GREBES were plentiful on the southside of the lake.  As I made my way up near Scorpion Bay, I had a very strange sighting when I heard and then saw an EASTERN MEADOWLARK perched up in desert habitat.  It was giving it's "zeet" call note continuously, a sighting I did not expect at all!  There are some mildly "grassy" areas around the lake edges, I guess that's what attracted the meadowlark.  EARED GREBES were also very numerous on the lake, no Horned Grebes yet.  In this southern half of the lake, I saw four very distant gulls I couldn't identify.  I then made my way to the north side of Lake Pleasant Regional Park at the North entrance station, which is in Yavapai County.  This side is less crowded and very enjoyable to bird.  It is three miles north of the main pay station.  I then scanned Lake Pleasant from the Castle Creek boat ramp, and was able to see a few gulls at closer views.  Most were Ring-billed Gulls, but one of them caught my attention in the distance as soon as I looked it.  It struck me as a young MEW GULL, it was brownish overall everywhere and un-patterned, had a black tail with a brownish rump, and the pattern fit Mew Gull.  I snapped a few distant but good enough photographs for the identification when it luckily came close enough for even those pictures.  Because I still am very inexperienced with gulls and still have my gull identification training wheels on, I asked David Vander Pluym to look over the photos.  David agreed with me, thanks David for the help!   The Mew Gull was seen from the area near the boat ramp, slightly north.

I looked on the Yavapai County list and I didn't see Mew Gull on it, so it may be a new Yavapai bird.

Mew Gull

It's an Eastern Meadowlark-I swear!

The Stand Off at Lake Pleasant-I had to eventually back off

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