Monday, November 5, 2012

MA - Black-legged Kittiwake - Gill!

 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;


Nick Bonomo said...

Great documentation James.

Gerry Biron and JoAnne Russo said...

amazing find!!!

James P. Smith said...

Nick and JoAnne

Thanks very much for your comments. It's cool to be finding post-Sandy birds almost a week after the storm had done its worst. What else might be out there?