Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

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  Laughing Gull Visits WNY

Published: September 02, 2020
Tags: Rarities, laughing gull

I've chased two Laughing Gulls over the last ten years, nearly qualifying it as an official nemesis bird.  Both times, I missed the bird by merely minutes.  Ugh!  When I recently got word that there was one being seen up at the Buffalo waterfront, I high-tailed it out there hoping that my third time would be a charm.  And it was!

Looks were actually pretty awful.  It was a windy, rainy day and the bird was on the river and keeping mostly to the Canadian side.  Birder friend, Josh K and I got on the bird, namely because we could see the Canadian birders across the water pointing and looking with their bins at the rare gull.

The bird was seen again the next day at a nearby park and then again found resting on the breakwall where we first had it.  I got much better views before it took off again.

A few days later, I happened to check out another area for anything that might have blown in and there was another Laughing Gull!  When it rains it pours, I guess!

Laughing Gulls are normally found along ocean coasts and rarely inland.  Adults are quite striking in breeding plumage, showing black heads and dark, red bills.  We aren't sure why this bird (and probably a second bird) showed up so far from their homes, but it most likely was due to a couple of recent hurricanes further south and their resulting winds that pushed them here.  The bird(s) I saw were a rather dull in plumage, being young bird(s).  So - the photos aren't too exciting and they were backlit on top of it!  BUT - I'm excited as I finally got to see a Laughing Gull in my home county!  Yay!

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Young Laughing Gull

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Laughing Gull

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Laughing Gull

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