Monday, February 26, 2007

February 26 - Ivory Gull

Yes, you read that right !
An Ivory Gull was found on the pier in Piermont, NY late yesterday afternoon. Once it was re-found this morning, I immediately took off to see this mega-vagrant.

The Range Map shows the bird breeding in the high-arctic.

Click image to enlarge

I arrived around 8:30 am and was able to see the bird immediately. It was about 20 yards north of the pier, sitting on the snow covered rocks that resulted from last night's storm. I was concerned that the weather might force this bird away, but luckily it stayed in the general area that it was seen yesterday. This is the same spot as the Snowy Owl, which continues as of today.
Word has it that this gull is feeding on the carcasses leftover from the Snowy Owl's meals.

The bird is an adult, being purely white except for it's black eyes and black legs. The bill is partially yellow. However it is darker at the lower portion of the bill.

A truly amazing bird to see here in NY, and I believe there are less-than-a-handful of records for this bird in NY. In my home state of New Jersey, there have only been a few records.

Another example of the "Patagonia Picnic Table effect" phrase, which was coined from the southeastern Arizona hotspot, whereby once one good bird is found and others come to see it this provides concentrations of skilled people who notice things, and those things sometimes turn out to be rare and valuable events that would have otherwise been missed.

Such is the case of this Ivory Gull, for had it not been for someone going to see the long-visiting Snowy Owl yesterday the odds are pretty good that the Ivory Gull may not have been found at all.

More photos at the Rockland Audubon website.