Monday, November 22, 2010

Ross's Gull

No pictures yet from this weekend, it was fairly busy. Friday afternoon as I was checking out the Snow Goose, reports were circulating about a Ross's Gull that had been seen and photographed at Cherry Creek Reservoir. There was no daylight to check by on Friday evening, and Saturday was the last home game for the Colorado Buffaloes, a game for which I was meeting fellow alumni at 7:00 am, no time for birding there.

I was left to hope that this bird would hang around until Sunday so I would have a chance to go looking for it. I headed out well before dawn Sunday morning, and was one of the first on the swim beach side of the lake. I did a lot of scanning with my scope, but was not having much luck.....there are hundreds of gulls, and picking out one on a large lake is always a challenge. Just as some of the out-of-state'ers began to arrive we found the bird. It was flying along the dam, and occasionally dipping down to the water surface. From that distance I was just scanning with the scope; no camera. Just trying to keep the bird in scope was a challenge enough. Still, at the distance we were able to watch it for some time, banking back and forth and occasionally flashing its wedge shaped tail. When it was close to others you could pick up a hint of pink, but it was far from a dominate feature at our distance. Camera or no, the scope seems to have earned its stripes as far as attracting rarities!

Later I worked around to the Lake Loop on the west side and got looks again with another group of birders. More great scope views, but distant. As a cold front blew through the weather fell apart, whitecaps kicked up and scoping to the far side of the lake became impossible. Counting my good fortune I headed home, only to read later that others had gotten to watch the bird resting on a sandbank yards from their position near the marina.

I am really happy just to have seen the bird. While a photo for the blog would have been nice, getting to see a bird that rarely leaves the Arctic is memorable in and of itself. From what I have gathered Colorado had two other accepted records of Ross's Gulls - and historical records in the lower 48 have been counted in the dozens. So having gotten to see this one definitively was worth it, as 15 or so years seems a safe bet before the next one comes around.

2010 Count: 208
Lifetime: 249

1 comment:

  1. I got one bad photo today. Such a cool bird. But so many birders moving, talking, following, that it finally left the spit/marina area.