Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29 - Ross' Gull on Tupper Lake

From Richard Guthrie's article in the Albany's Times-Union newspaper:
"The Ross’s Gull is one of the most sought after birds in the world. Usually the only way to see them is to visit Siberia where they nest or stop by Point Barrow in October to catch a few migrating to their wintering grounds – the Arctic Ocean. Ross’s Gulls don’t leave the Arctic ever. That is except for one every now and then, usually at intervals of about ten to fifteen years."

This mega-rarity was made known to the public earlier this week on Thursday, however I had obligations yesterday (Saturday) and I could not join my my only chance was today.  Fortunately my considerate wife agreed to accompany me on the 275-mile drive up to the Franklin County town of Tupper Lake.
A trip to the Adirondacks isn't complete until you see these conditions !
click to enlarge

We arrived about 12:15 and luckily I spotted some birders alongside the roadway getting  ready to depart. I inquired about any updates and they told me the bird was right there on the ice about 30-40 yards off shore.
I quickly got out with my scope and within minutes I was enjoying seeing this life bird. For the next 15 minutes I watched the bird eating the snow and also taking a short flight, only to return to the precise spot from whence it came.
Inevitably nature called and my wife and I took a 5-minute break to attend to a deserved rest after that 4.5 hour drive...We returned and I was able to view the bird for another 15-minutes.  A snow squall came and the bird flew off and could not be quickly re-found.  So we decided to take a lunch break.
We returned about 45-minutes later and the bird had not been seen for about 15-minutes.  I looked for the bird for a bit longer and sat out a squall or two, but the bird never returned.  Hopefully it will be seen again tomorrow as I'm sure many others are still making their way to look for it.

Based on the Range Maps for each species, when I began chasing specific birds I would never have guessed that I would ever get to see either Ivory Gull or Ross' Gull and I've been lucky enough to see both species.  As of this writing, the Ross' Gull is ABA Life-Bird # 647 for me.

Here's some images, with proper attributions to the generous photographers, coming shortly.

credit:  Larry Scacchetti

credit: James Smith

credit jewforgsoc