Content & Photos © Bill Schmoker unless noted otherwise. Thanks for visiting- drop me a comment!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ice, Iceland, Baby!

I was down in Pueblo, Colorado yesterday & the day before, getting my year's birding off to a strong start. Pueblo Reservoir stays open all winter, and has a great forage base that attracts thousands and thousands of gulls and diving birds. Its size can be daunting, but I'd rather have lots of birds spread across a vast lake then very few on smaller water. Over the two days, my dad & I saw 10 species of gulls. The "usual" three, Ring-billed, Herring, and California, provided a backdrop to compare the rarer birds against. A few Bonaparte's Gulls represented the small end, and an adult Mew Gull contrasted nicely with the surrounding ringers. Black-backs both Great and Lesser were found. Among the pale-winged gulls were a young Thayer's, a couple of young Glaucous, and our best bird, a 1st-cycle Kumlien's Iceland Gull. The Iceland Gull was a major treat when we scoped it going to bed at sunset on the floating tires guarding the south marina, but the best surprise was re-finding it the next day at Pueblo City Park on the duck pond, less than 20 meters away and in bright sunlight! Needless to say, the photos I got were way better than anything I previously had of the species.The Kumlien's subspecies of Iceland Gull breeds way up on Baffin Island, and most winter in the North Atlantic. Colorado only had 1 accepted record of the species prior to 2000, but they are being reported about annually now. Are Colorado birders paying more attention, or are they really showing up more (or both?)- Things that make you go, hmmm. Whatever the case, it is a rare, most excellent bird around here, even if it is a gull. See what you think of this swanky bird:

3 comments:

Beverly said...

Okay, I'm embarrassed to ask this question but here goes: In that last photo...is the bird almost crash- landing on its chin, or do they feed while flying over the water like skimmers do?

Needless to say, I haven't gotten as far as Gulls, yet! LOL

Lovely, lovely shots of yes...a pretty swanky-looking bird. But I'm thinking that was because of the photographer!

brdpics said...

Hi Beverly- that is just a splashy landing- funny how it keeps its head and wings up. The next thing many gulls do is to get a quick drink of water. When you start perusing gulls, you'll see why the few white-winged varieties get us larophiles' pulses up!

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