It had been a few years since my last sighting of Glaucous Gull so once friend Dan P. had reported one on the Passaic River in the vicinity of Garfield I decided to try for it. My first attempt was a short try back on Tuesday December 26 but I did not see it.
When the gull was reported by friend Mike W. on Saturday, I made a second attempt on Sunday at first light. I arrived about a quarter past 7, just before sunrise, and there was enough ambient light to start looking at the group of gulls. Fortunately the Glaucous Gull is a big all-white bird which makes it easier to find in darker conditions. Within a few minutes I had located the Gull !
credit: Mike Wolfe
When I was watching the big white Gull I then noticed a smaller white gull, it was an Iceland Gull. The Iceland Gull took off after less than a minute and flew downstream to the Dundee Dam area.
The Glaucous stayed in sight the entire time I was there and at times came quite close. Other species seen in my half-hour there were Bufflehead, Common Merganser, and Gulls of Ring-Billed, Herring, and Greater Black-Backed.
I could see that rain was going to come soon but I continued onto my next stop at Hatfield Swamp.
Along the walk under the power lines I saw such sparrows as Dark-Eyed Junco, American Tree, Song, Swamp, Field, and White-Throated. I heard a Towhee call a few times as well. I came across a pair of Blackbirds, yet these were not Rusties but of the Red-winged variety. Here woodpeckers abound and I saw numerous Downy & Red-Bellied along with many Northern Flickers, plus a few each of Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker and Hairy Woodpeckers. Surprisingly there weren't any Red-Headed Woodpeckers even though this place looks to be perfect for this species' liking...
During my walk I spotted a Barred Owl, which is the first time I have seen this species here.
I think that's it for my birding adventures in 2013. I do hope to get out on New Year's Day and start the 2014 chases !