Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Adventures & Observations

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  Mew Gull in Oswego, a Life Bird

Published: January 20, 2018
Tags: Life List Happenings, Mew Gull, Slaty-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull

A Mew Gull was found by Jay McGowan on Thursday afternoon near the Oswego Harbor in Minetto, NY.  I woke up very early yesterday morning - and when I read his post about it, I quickly threw things together and made a run for it.  I had tried for this species once before in Dunkirk when Gale VerHague found one.  That bird didn't stick around - and neither did the Mew Gull found on Long Island earlier this past week.  This species doesn't seem to linger!

After a long drive, when I arrived at the spot, several birders were already on the bird.  A tough climb up a snow bank brought me to the group of happy birders. I got my first view of a Mew Gull, thanks to Bill Purcell sharing his scope.  It was a life bird for most of us and everyone was in great spirits.

The Mew Gull is a pretty, little gull with a subtle pink wash on its breast, a dark eye, a slightly darker gray mantle (back), and a more dainty bill than a Ring-billed Gull.  There was a slight ring on the lower mandible (bill), but nothing like a Ring-billed's ring.  It's also a little smaller than a Ring-billed.  When it flew, there was a nice show of white on the primary tips of feathers P9 and P10.  All in all, it was a very pretty gull and finally, an addition to my life list.

Nearby, at a spot along the river, a wonderful birder and all around nice guy, George Chiu, re-found a Slaty-backed Gull (another rarity that was found earlier in the week by David Wheeler).  Unfortunately, the bird was far out on the ice but we got nice scope views.  I actually took my first usable digi-scoped shot of that gull (included below).  Kevin Rybczynski will be proud!  To my surprise, there were two birders from Massachusetts there, hoping to see the Slaty-backed.  They were thrilled when I told them George had re-found the bird!  And I thought MY drive was long!

A Glaucous Gull was on the ice a bit closer and was pointed out by Pat Martin.  Thank you, Pat!

I was very glad I made the very long drive!

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Mew Gull

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Mew Gull

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Mew Gull

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Mew Gull

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Mew Gull

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Mew Gull

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Digi-scoped Slaty-backed Gull

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Glaucous Gull

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