Friday, February 27, 2009

MA - Slaty-backed again - 02/26

Slaty-backed Gull - 2nd/3rd cycle, Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.

Slaty-backed (2nd/3rd cycle), Great Black-backed, American Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Barton Cove, Gill. Image taken from Gill side though here the birds are in the middle of the channel.

Slaty-backed Gull - 2nd/3rd cycle (center), Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA.

After gulling at Windsor Landfill, CT, I decided to take the long diversion home and call in at Barton Cove once again. No birders were present on the Gill side of the river when I arrived, maybe not too surprising in view of the appalling light and the presence of very few large gulls. Most of the ice had gone after a mild night and day, but a pocket remained very close to the dam and held just a handful of birds. By viewing through a chain-link fence I was able to get some moderately close views of the resting gulls and decided to concentrate my effort from here. Slowly more birders arrived, as did the larger gulls and it was one of my field companions who picked out the Slaty-back very close to us on the ice just before 5pm. Only seconds later, the gulls suddenly spooked and the Slaty spent the remaining time out in the middle of the ice free water close to Unity Park. Ironically, the views from Unity Park on this particular evening would have been very good. All the gulls flew up river without returning after an immature Bald Eagle passed through at around 5:20pm.

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