Black-legged Kittiwake - (adult), Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., November 5th, 2012.
Images taken using Panasonic Lumix FZ7.
The first gull-like bird I saw this morning could have so easily been glossed over as one of the regular Ring-billed Gulls. But with Hurricane Sandy still very much in mind I paid close attention to this one as it flew past and began quartering around Barton Cove. The compact shape, somewhat tern-like flight and 'inky' black wing tips pointed straight to an adult Black-legged Kittiwake! This highly pelagic species is exceedingly rare in the Pioneer Valley. In fact, I haven't seen a Black-legged Kittiwake in "the valley" since a storm-driven incursion involving multiple birds during October 11th-15th, 2005. The bird looked relatively healthy was perhaps working its way back to the coast after last week's hurricane - but that's pure speculation of course.
the shots below feature the Kittiwake (left) in flight with an adult Ring-billed Gull;