Friday, 10 February 2017

The Yellow-legged Gull Returns - A Pattern Emergs.

Yesterday Lancy Cheng turned up a Yellow-legged Gull at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John's, Newfoundland. It was the first great day for gull watching in a couple of weeks. After a cold windy spell and hardly any gulls on the lake, a warm spell with rain really stirred up the gulls and brought them out from hiding. It is still a mystery why we can't see large numbers of gulls in cold windy weather. The only food major source for 'ten thousand miles' is the St. John's landfill.  So they aren't leaving the zone but their habits do not cross paths with birding habits. Unfortunately our birding habits are prohibited from including the landfill where all the big gulls (except Iceland) must go to feed.

It was nice that Lancy found the Yellow-legged Gull again.  It adds a coating of lacquer to a developing pattern. This is the third consecutive year that this particular YLGU has shown up in St. John's in Sept/Oct and stayed until December - vanished completely - then appears out of no where in February. If the pattern holds we'll have only 2-3 weeks to enjoy its presence before it vanishes for good until the fall. 

I was already planning to take today off work. It coincided nicely with the new abundance of gulls. It was still raining and unseasonably warm when I set out early Friday morning. There were a lot of gulls also too many eagles  Between eagle flushes I managed three separate sightings of the Yellow-legged Gull. Twice on the bare ground by the Granite & Tile building near the entrance to the landfill and once bathing at close range at the west end of Quidi Vidi lake.

Photos were secured. It was all in panic mode. No time for breathing normally as the next eagle flush was just around the corner. Hopefully there will be some more close encounters over the next couple of weeks.

Below are photos of the bird today. I won't go through all the reasons why this is a Yellow-legged Gull because I outlined this in Feb 2016. The details can be seen here.  Enjoy.

http://brucemactavish1.blogspot.ca/2016/02/yellow-legged-gull-st-johns.html












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