Saturday, March 12, 2011

More on the Little Gull

[Photos copyright by Tony Leukering; click on image(s) to see larger version(s).]

As Mike noted in the post below, the adult Little Gull put on a sustained show on the southern bayshore yesterday; hopefully it's still around for the weekend birders to enjoy. It was first found by Chris Vogel south of the canal off Higbees Beach SWA. Mike Fritz then noted it off the north jetty at the Ferry Terminal where I just managed to get to in time to see it fly off to the north (2:50 pm). Don Freiday then found it at Miami Beach, Villas (3:17 pm), where it was present for the remainder of the afternoon. As foraging of the Little Gull (and the Bonaparte's Gulls with which it associates) is tied to the tides, the information that yesterday's high tide at Miami Beach was 1:28 pm and the low was at 7:25 pm and that today's tides are, respectively, 2:25 and 8:22 pm should be useful to those looking for the wee beastie.

The Little Gull is nearly always with Bonaparte's Gulls and Forster's Terns while foraging and roosting. Mike posted pictures of the standing Little Gull yesterday, while I here present two pictures of the bird flying. In these pictures, one can see all the useful field marks helpful in picking the Little Gull out from the swirling flock:

-- entirely pale upperwing that is pale gray with a white fringe,

-- wingtip more rounded than on Bonaparte's Gull and considerably more so than on Forster's Tern,

-- very dark underwing with a white trailing edge, and

-- size about that of Forster's Tern, smaller than Bonaparte's Gull.

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