Thursday, November 6, 2008

Black-tailed Gull tops twelve gull species day - Nov 5th

Rarely do I have the chance to bird Outer Cape Cod, but reports of huge numbers of gulls (not to mention a Black-tailed Gull) off the Provincetown beaches had me on edge since the weekend. With a free day and a decent weather forecast I hit the road in the early hours reaching Race Point beach by 07:30am. I devoted nearly four hours to Race Point beach, including a 3 mile round walk, and then spent the rest of the day at Herring Cove beach and the areas North of there towards Race Point Light. Huge, and actually overwhelming, numbers of birds could be seen all day. Many of these were gulls, including incredible numbers of Bonaparte's Gulls (5000+) and although I didn't realize until late afternoon, I ended up recording twelve gull species during the day. In order of observation, these were;

1) American Herring Gull 

2) Great Black-backed Gull
3) Bonaparte's Gull
4) Black-legged Kittiwake
5) Ring-billed Gull
6) Laughing Gull
7) Kumlien's Iceland Gull
8) Black-headed Gull
9) Little Gull
10) Lesser Black-backed Gull
11) Black-tailed Gull
12) Glaucous Gull.

Black-tailed Gull - 3rd cycle/adult at Herring Cove, Provincetown. 
Found by Blair Nikula on November 1st and seen intermittently at Herring Cove and Race Point beach to Nov 5th at least.

Little Gull - first-cycle, Race Point Beach. 
Digibin shot of bird moving west with Bonaparte's Gulls.

Black-headed Gull - adult, Race Point beach. 
One of three seen, all were off Race Point beach in the morning, two adults and one first-cycle.

Kumlien's Iceland Gull - first-cycle, Race Point beach. One of three seen today.

Black-legged Kittiwakes - Race Point beach. 
Well over 600 Kittiwakes today, many close to shore and some resting on the beach. 
Less than 20% were first-cycle.

Glaucous Gull - first cycle, Herring Cove beach. 
Nice crisp looking bird, my first of the season.

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Second-cycle, Herring Cove beach. 
One of three today, the two being winter adults.

What an incredible day it was......