California Gulls - Niagara River

Willie D'Anna & Betsy Potter dannapotter at
Sat Nov 30 19:28:11 EST 2002

Today, Saturday, the third winter CALIFORNIA GULL was at the power plants,
found by Kurt Fox and well visible from the Adam Beck overlook.  In addition
a second winter CALIFORNIA GULL was found by Brandon Holden, sitting on the
breakwall in front of the pulloff on the downriver side of the control gates
(above the falls).  When we arrived, the water level had risen and pushed
off most of the gulls roosting on the breakwall.  However, Betsy found an
interesting bird in a feeding flock in the middle of the river.  We studied
it for a long time and believe it was a second-winter California Gull but
never got to see the legs and feet.  It showed a slightly darker back than
the Herring Gulls and was slightly smaller than all of the Herring Gulls,
especially in the head and chest.  The head streaking was heavy, especially
on the lower nape.  The bill was pale with a dark tip.  The eyes appeared
dark but we were too distant and the light not strong enough to be certain.
The wings were similar to many second winter Herring Gulls, though the
lesser and median coverts were similar in darkness and color to the back.
In short, everything we saw was consistent with a California Gull.  After
about 40 minutes waiting for it to land on the island or the breakwall, and
with increasing snow, we let it go.

In the parking area on the upriver side of the control gates, a CAPE MAY
WARBLER was reported.  This is the same place that a Yellow-throated Warbler
was found at this time of the year back in the mid-80s.

The BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was seen in the gorge below Niagara Falls and
also resting on rocks above the falls.

Lots of ICELAND and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS around and a few
THAYER'S-types.  An adult LITTLE GULL was in lower Queenston, well downriver
from the boat ramp (scope-bird).

The numbers of Herring and Bonaparte's Gulls are very good right now.

Good gulling!
Willie D'Anna
Betsy Potter
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
dannapotter at

"Willie D'Anna & Betsy Potter" <dannapotter at>

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