I tried for the gull first on Monday (seen by Ted Murin and others on
Sunday), viewing north from the Sandbar Causeway. In the mid-morning I
did find a gull flock within a far viewing range, but many were relaxing
on the ice and I didn't spot the bird. Later the large flock moved
further east and further out (but still south of Cedar Island); but due
to the thermal interference they were basically unviewable.
I heard that somewhat later in the day on Mon, Dick Lavallee was very
fortunate in spotting the gull with a small group where I had first seen
the group in the morning. However it didn't stay long enough to be
The situation grows worse by day, as the ice has extended further out
north from the causeway, so that areas that the gulls would prefer to
feed in have moved out of visible range.
On Tuesday five birders gathered at the causeway mid-morning; but didn't
see any gulls in the vicinity. We then searched for viewing spots from
both the eastern and western shores of that part of the lake that
surrounds Cedar, Fish Bladder and Savage islands, into the
mid-afternoon. We did find one intermediate-size flock nearer to Savage
Island, but didn't spot the gull of interest. At the end of the
afternoon we also scanned the gulls sitting on the Burlington breakwater
but didn't see "the gull".
Of course with the snowstorm of today, Wed, viewing conditions would
have been difficult. Given the storm's dumping of snow on the lake today
and the further freezing, it would be interesting to know where the
largest group of gulls will head next for feeding and roosting. If
people out there spot such a group, please let us know.
As a consolation prize for some of us in the afternoon, we scanned the
ducks seen from the parking lot at the northern end of the RR causeway
in South Hero. There were good numbers of Common Goldeneye in a nice
viewing situation, and the highlight birds were a Canvasback, several
Redheads, and a female Barrow's Goldeneye found by Ted Murin. Also a
Common Loon swam very close by.
I mostly didn't want people out there to think that "the gull" was going
to be easy to find from the causeway.
Good luck for those that may continue to help us seek it, for further
sightings and photographs to help clinch the identification process.