Friday, October 2, 2009

Golden-winged Sticks Around Northwood; Jaeger et. al. at Avalon Seawatch

[Not just any Laughing Gull - meet Francis, appointed mascot and mooch at the Avalon Seawatch. Probably temporary, since although Laughing Gulls can stick it out until December, numbers have tailed off already, and really tail off by November.]

The Golden-winged Warbler resurfaced at the Northwood Center this evening, a female, and drew quite a crowd. And held it, with her elusive behavior that feeder rushes by Accipiters did not help. Golden-crowned Kinglets, towhees and others called in the background.

A lovely adult light morph Parasitic Jaeger flew north past the Avalon Seawatch around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, at some distance, but then returned headed south inside of the bell buoy there. A single Red-throated Loon flew by while I was there, and a few Northern Gannets were on the horizon. Counter Nick Metheny was desperate for countable birds. Not to worry, 700,000 or so will come in the coming three months. Be sure to stop by Avalon at 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for Interpretive Naturalist Steve Kolbe's talk about the seawatch, its birds, and how to identify them.

[Not Francis, this Laughing Gull at Avalon is in heavy wing molt, and has shed its outer primaries. New ones are growing in. Click to enlarge.]

[Compare the above photo with this one of Francis, who has shed and is replacing her inner primaries (the shorter ones with the fresh white tips) but still has her worn outer primaries. Note all the nicks and that the white tips have worn completely away on these outer primary feathers, which are about a year old. Like most gulls, Laughing Gulls undergo a complete molt in fall, and a partial one involving head and body feathers in spring. And like most birds, Francis is replacing her primaries from the inside out.]

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