Maybe a bold statement but when the gulls are on the move there can be no argument; we are done with winter for another year. The change has been subtle, numbers of gulls dropping, those still around looking very crisp in their new and temporary breeding plumage, of course gulls dress for the prom, why would you think otherwise!
This past couple of days I’ve done more or less the same circuit of Cape Sable Island, mostly on the lookout for a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a puzzling absentee on my CSI year list that I am definitely not doing this year. I got one at West Head on March-10th and saw the same bird at Swimm Point today. I also saw a wierd looking Glaucous Gull at West Head on March-10th, very washed out, I aged it as three years old (3cy) which is probably about right. Today I found two adults at Swimm Point and I’m tempted to speculate that they are the same two we had there last winter. Adult Glaucs are not at all common in southern Nova Scotia, in fact Glaucs in general represent 1/100 or rarer around here, and so three this weekend in spots regularly checked and where we have barely had a Glauc on CSI this winter tells me migration is on.
West Head has been pretty good recently, the storms have dumped a lot of Thick-billed Murres into our waters and one or two are always there, pottering about like miserable old folks. Also there are a few Red-necked Grebes. I’ve noticed that, since the storms, both Red-necked Grebes and Common Loons have been in places where I’ve never seen them before, Bakers’ Flats for example. Now that the seas are calm, well at least for now, they are all heading back to the open ocean, it tells you how rough it has been though when these hardy birds have to seek refuge inside.
For people who have and interest in these things, Bruce Mactavish in Newfoundland writes a good piece on Thayer’s Gull on his blog. I 100% agree with him but, as I’ve said before, I suspect other elements were at play in lumping Thayer’s with Iceland. Read Bruce’s views here: http://brucemactavish1.blogspot.ca/
And now a few photos, gulls last!