Sunday, October 28, 2012

Balmorhea mystery bird

Until Tripp is able to post further details, this is the only shot we have at the moment of an all-dark gull with pale rump at Lake Balmorhea on Saturday, October 27.

The bird on the left is a Ring-billed Gull, and the dark bird was described as slightly larger and loosely associating with them. So far it sounds like a fairly good fit for a Heermann's Gull.


Tripp Davenport's Flickr album -

Edit: as of 2 pm on Sunday, October 28, that particular dark gull (Herring/CA type) was not refound in spite of three people searching. Two sub-adult Herring Gulls, one darker than the other, were present but very un-Heermann's like. That said, I was cooped up at work, so the following list is via Cameron Carver -

**Edit by MWYork:  NO ALL DARK GULL present during our obs. Three people gave it a heck of an effort.  HOWEVER, an excellent consolation prize was the later-in-the-day presence of a 1st winter SURF SCOTER.**

Date and Effort - Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:10 AM
Protocol: Traveling
Party Size: 1
Duration: 4 hour(s)
Distance: 5.0 mile(s)
Observers: Cameron Carver

Species - 67 species (+2 other taxa) total
11 Snow Goose - Counted
50 Gadwall - Est Likely undercount
10 American Wigeon - Est
20 Northern Shoveler - Est
2 Northern Pintail
20 Green-winged Teal - Est
10 Redhead - Est
14 Lesser Scaup
1 Surf Scoter - 1st winter female. photos and video. Bird had white on the side of the head and at the base of the bill. Bill was large and "roman". Bird was seen diving a few times and later associated with diving ducks.
2 Hooded Merganser - Adult Male and female.
44 Ruddy Duck
5 Pied-billed Grebe - Est
15 Eared Grebe - Est
15 Western Grebe - Est
30 Clark's Grebe - Est
5 Double-crested Cormorant
19 American White Pelican
7 Great Blue Heron
2 Great Egret
3 Snowy Egret
1 Golden Eagle - Adult bird being harassed by Ravens on north side of lake.
4 Northern Harrier
1 Cooper's Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
25 American Coot
10 Sandhill Crane - Est by sound
18 Killdeer
1 Spotted Sandpiper
4 Least Sandpiper
3 Wilson's Snipe
3 Bonaparte's Gull - At least 2 adults and 1 immature. Smudgy thumbprint on side of head and tern like behavior.
4 Franklin's Gull - Appeared to be either first winter birds, or just winter birds. Slightly bigger than BOGU with some black in head and big white crescents around eye.
30 Ring-billed Gull - est
2 Herring Gull - 2 large, mottled gulls. Much bigger than RBGU
2 Eurasian Collared-Dove
3 Mourning Dove
2 Belted Kingfisher
3 Northern Flicker
1 Prairie Falcon
1 Black Phoebe
3 Say's Phoebe
2 Vermilion Flycatcher
4 Common Raven
2 raven sp.
1 Tree Swallow
2 Barn Swallow
30 Cave Swallow - Est
2 Rock Wren
2 House Wren
5 Marsh Wren
1 Bewick's Wren
1 Northern Mockingbird
2 Curve-billed Thrasher
9 American Pipit
1 Common Yellowthroat
11 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)
1 Green-tailed Towhee
3 Brewer's Sparrow
40 Lark Bunting
10 Savannah Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow
1 Lincoln's Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
19 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Pyrrhuloxia
10 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Eastern Meadowlark
10 Eastern/Western Meadowlark
40 Great-tailed Grackle

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