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February 2017


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Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 5 Feb 2017 02:00:29 +0000
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
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Justin Lawson <[log in to unmask]>
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email post from Wheelock

Just a quick note that this afternoon [2/4] around 3 pm scanning from
Moonstone Beach with a group from Drumlin Farm WS into Trustom Pond
enjoying all the special birds [E. Wigeon, Tundra Swans, Redheads, etc], an
adult nonbreeding Ross's Gull flies right in front of us -  20 to 30 yds
out - believe it might have come in from the ocean since we had been
scanning a while and no small gull was out there - along the water/sand
edge, slows up & drops down to snatch some food [basically like a Bonaparte
A few of my participants got excellent looks at this bird and got me on it
as past in front of me, watched it in my glasses, then put my scope on it
watching as it worked it's way slowly southward along the edge of the pond
- saw the bird well until it went behind the reeds to our left - when we
went around the reeds and scanned down in the direction it flew, we did not
see it flying anymore - gone???.

The bird really stumped me initially because it was the size & flight
behavior of a Bonapate but the bird looked like a miniature adult Iceland
Gull with solid pale gray mantle, white underneath the wings, no noticeable
head markings, small black bill - white tail [couldn't discern a wedge
shape tail as I was focused on the underwing [maybe some light grayness to
the tips of the primaries]
It wasn't a Bonapate, a Little Gull, a Blk-headed Gull - doesn't leave
anything else - when I got to Sibley's Guide to Birds to verify this ID,
his picture was dead on [like always]

The birding trip was called "Rhode Island Rarities" and with the Tufted
Ducks, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Tundra Swans, E. Wigeon, Sapsuckers, etc
already, why not throw a Ross's Gull in to complete the trip - a shocking
rarity & obviously, totally unexpected.
When we recently started our CA. winter birding trip Jan 16, a Ross's Gull
made an unexpected appearance near SF & the birders flocked instantly to
the site of the rare gull's location - while they were watching it, a
Peregrine came out of nowhere & nailed it in front of all these stunned
birders - hopefully our Peregrines will treat our bird with more compassion

Strickland Wheelock
Uxbridge MA
Justin Lawson
Worcester, MA