Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanks to a timely and much appreciated phone call from Nick Bonomo, my visiting parents and I drove down to the Windsor/Bloomfield landfill to enjoy this fantastic find by Nick. Leaving the house to the site took just fifty minutes, straight down I-91.

On arrival, the bird was out of view for the first twenty minutes or so causing me to keep glancing at my watch and worry about closing time (4pm). At around 2:25 pm I re-located it and then had it view until 3:05pm, along with a relatively small band of very happy birders. At peak, I would say some 5,000 large gulls were present on site at around 2pm but a gradual thinning of birds was evident throughout the afternoon leaving perhaps less than 2,000 by about 3:45pm when we departed.

This Slaty-backed Gull is certainly showing some signs of immaturity, most obviously in the dark bill markings and has me wondering about the age which I'll discuss when I have a little more time. Nick is discussing the age of the bird on his own blog here.

A very cool find indeed that gives me some hope for the forthcoming winter evenings at Turner's Falls.

Slaty-backed Gull - 3rd/4th cycle - The first record in Connecticut.

Slaty-backed and Kumlien's Iceland Gulls flanked by American Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Kumlien's Iceland Gulls - about 4 present at the landfill today.

Lesser Black-backed Gull - adult with primaries still growing.


Nick Bonomo said...

James, glad you got to enjoy this bird. That little landfill really came through today. Really looking forward to your thoughts on the bird's age.
- Nick

James P. Smith said...


Kudos to you my friend! Not only for finding for the bird but also for being dedicated enough to spend your precious 'free' time at this landfill. That must have been a gamble(?) on what looked like a really fine morning for winter birding that could easily have been spent elsewhere.

Cool beans.


Tom Pirro said...


So, your parents were visiting and took them to a landfill :)

As always, excellent photos and commentary James on not only the "target" bird but other gull species too! About a month back I had a very similar Lesser Black-backed Gull to the one with the incomplete primary growth in Gardner, Ma.
I'll be keeping close watch on the local gulls near me for "my own" Slaty...or if Nick will his come play in Mass....thats ok too.

Happy Gulling