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Congratulations on getting closer to your goal. I also wondered about your
use of chips rather than old fashioned patience. I am not so sure baiting
wildlife so you can get a picture is a good example of being a responsible
birder.

Diane Brown
Middlebury




On Thursday, August 18, 2016, Roo Slagle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Great successful story.
> What do chips do for a gull's stomach?
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Aug 17, 2016, at 8:40 PM, Tyler Pockette <[log in to unmask]
> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> After Jim and Ted's report of a Little Gull at Charlotte Town Beach this
> afternoon, I headed up in hopes the bird would still be there and be close
> enough to shore that I could get a photo that would be acceptable for my
> photo big year (a task that can be very difficult at this location because
> the birds tend to hang out WAY offshore). I was disappointed upon arrival
> to hear that the Little Gull had not been seen in a while, and lighting
> conditions were rapidly declining as the sun got lower.
>
> Luckily, I had taken my kayak with me as a last resort option if I needed
> to get a closer approach to obtain a photo. Even more luckily, I had
> stopped at the gas station on the way to buy a bag of chips so I could get
> $6 cash back to pay for the parking at the beach. I could see a flock of
> about 30 Bonaparte's Gulls loafing on the water in the midst of the sun's
> reflection about a mile offshore, so I decided to throw the kayak in the
> water and paddle blindly in hopes of relocating the flock on the off chance
> that the Little Gull was hiding somewhere among them.
>
> I made it to the area where I thought the birds had been when I left land
> but could not see any gulls on the water. A couple of Ring-billed Gulls
> passed by so I decided my last effort would be to rile up a some action by
> getting the Ring-bills to feed on some chips. I started tossing chips into
> the water and they dove down to me. I tried mimicking their squawks as loud
> as I could to draw attention from any other gulls nearby. It only took a
> few moments before I could see gulls heading my way from every direction
> around me. Within a minute, I had about a dozen Ring-billed Gulls and just
> as many Bonaparte's Gulls circling and diving around me, with many more
> gulls on their way towards me in the distance. That's when the Little Gull
> came in. I immediately noticed its small size and then the dark underwings.
> It was a gorgeous adult in breeding plumage that circled my kayak several
> times, coming as close as 20 feet. It was actually too close, as it's very
> difficult to maneuver a kayak in circles while trying to photograph a fast
> moving bird in flight. I really wish I had brought more chips out with me,
> because it didn't take long for the gulls to clean me out, get bored, and
> return to their lazy floating. I imagine an active feeding flock like that
> must look pretty enticing to a passing Jaeger...
>
> On the way home I also encountered my first Common Nighthawk of the year in
> Vergennes.
>
> Little Gull and Common Nighthawk were birds #231 and 232 photographed in VT
> for the year. A link to my new photo big year photos:
>
> https://www.flickr.com/photos/141790488@N02/with/28769087520/
>
> Happy birding!
> Tyler Pockette
>