Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slaty-backed Gull- Sault Ste. Marie Landfill- 12 Jan 2012

Well it has been a while since I posted. Primarily that is because I have been spending a lot of time seabirding and working on a somewhat insane quest to see all the worlds seabirds.

I have still been keenly looking for gulls around the Sault and had a adult Franklin's Gull of all things at the Sault landfill on Dec 17th.

Adult Franklin's Gull-SSM Landfill 17 Dec 2012

Well today- after sifting through 250,000 Herring Gulls, 100 plus visits to the local landfills and about fifteen hundred dollars worth of car repairs- came the pay off.

An adult Slaty-backed Gull

The gulls have been most flighty at the SSM landfill as about 40 eagles have been hanging out right in the dumping area. It has been difficult to observe the gulls as much of the time they are up high in the air very spooked.

This bird had a decent hood typical of adult Slaty-backs (hard to see in some of the slightly over exposed pics), a very light eye with reddish orbital ring, broad tertial crescent and trailing edges to the flight feathers and the mandatory "string of pearls" wing pattern.]

Adult Slaty-backed Gull, SSM Landfill 12 Jan 2012

Here are some more pictures

Adult Slaty-backed Gull, SSM Landfill 12 Jan 2012

The landfill is unfortunately not open for general gull viewing and the dumping area currently is very treacherous. I spoke to the Landfill manager today and he did not feel this area was safe for public access.

Undoubtedly this bird is spending time along the St. Mary's River as well as at Dafter Landfill in Michigan which isn't currently plagued with the "eagle problem". This is the second "sault Area Record" the first being 30 years ago at the old Chippewa landfill in SSM, MI.

Persistence always pays off in the long run.

Kirk Zufelt
Sault Ste. Marie