For all the beautiful places that we go to see neat birds and other stuff, we occasionally visit a not so beautiful place to find a particular species. This weekend was one of those cases. There was a rare gull species that I hadn't seen, and one of the best places to find rare gulls is the dump. It's not that rare gulls in particular prefer dumps. It's that SO MANY gulls are attracted by all the food we throw away that there is a high probability that any species in the region is more likely to be found at the dump than in some small group of gulls on the beach.
Here's the dump that our friends Bob and Lucy Duncan took us to find the gulls.
The target bird: Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) adult (bird in the middle)
A 2nd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull (the partly blocked bird in the middle)
I found a 1st winter bird, but didn't get a photo. It was a real treat to see all the ages on my first day seeing this species. Other gulls at the dump were Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla), Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), and Herring Gull (Larus argentatus). We later saw a Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), which was an unexpected bonus, and some Bonaparte's Gulls (Larus philadelphia), so it was a pretty gully day.
We visited some less smelly birding places later in the day, and found this 25-30 lb Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) out of the water; perhaps a large female looking for a place to lay her eggs.
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