The weekend brought some magnus birds to Colorado (Henslow's Sparrow, Pomarine & Long-tailed Jaegers, & Red Phalarope come to mind), but my travels were limited to a short radius so I could catch up on stuff around home and bank some family time before I depart on Wednesday for California. I'm heading out on Wednesday for a couple of pelagics and the Western Field Ornithologists convention in San Fransisco- should be a great way to start year 40 of my life (I cross that milestone on Tuesday.)
Anyway, to get some pelagic warm-ups, I headed over to nearby Union Reservoir armed with a big nasty bag of butter-flavored popcorn. I got the sun and the breeze at my back, tossed out handfuls of the floating yellow chum, and waited for action (nibbling a bit myself in an attempt to become one with the gulls.) It took a while before any birds noticed, but once one started orbiting and diving for the soggy treats it was soon joined by throngs of Ring-billed Gulls. I was hoping that another gull species might sneak in, even if just a California Gull, but all I got were three age classes of Ringers. My biggest fantasy was that a jaeger would materialize to strafe the gulls, but the only birds besides the gulls that seemed curious were a few American White Pelicans that flew over to see if the gulls were on a school of fish.
So now I'm primed for some pelagic flight shooting right? Yeah, sure. Kind of like a major-leage batter who takes a few easy swings with the weight on the bat before facing some real heat. Wheeling gulls diving for chum might be a wee bit tricky, but on Thursday I'll also have the added joy of a heaving deck, birds shearing the wind over waves, salt spray, potential fog &/or rain, and the strong possibility of not feeling completely myself. I couldn't be more psyched.