And now a back track to yesterdays post where we went to Mile Hill Road and be happy to see Kevin already there with his scope on two Bonaparte's Gulls. I'd get up early this morning and see Kevin sent both Alan and I an email on them letting us know the gulls we saw may not have been Bonaparte's Gulls but rather Sabine's Gulls based on two important field marks he didn't pay much attention to for a Sabine's until he got home and then it would click.
1. Dark Gray Back
2. Light tip to the bill
Hmmmmmmm......That's funny I'd think to myself as I thought I was the only one who noticed how dark gray the backs were on those gulls but figured it was due distance, lighting or both so didn't say anything. When I saw them in the scope I remember pausing on them for a bit as the gray was so dark (closer to Lesser Black-backed than Bonaparte's in my mind), that it caused me to catch my breath momentarily as it was striking against the white plumage of the gull and something I wasn't expecting as all of the Bonaparte's I've ever seen have been drab gray at best.
Still groggy from sleep this morning I'd take my first sip of coffee and open my Sibley's (page 175) for Sabine's Gull and have one of my Holy sh*t moments that don't happen as often as I'd like.
Laughing Gull to the left, Sabine's Gull to the right. The Sabine's to the right looked very similar to the gulls we saw Tuesday at Wachusett Reservoir including the charcoal grayish smudged head, dark gray back, small tern like bill and that contrasting white I had noticed when I was observing the bird
Fast forward again to this morning when Alan picked me up and we'd be discussing yesterdays gulls and he too said he'd noticed that dark gray back, smudgy head, etc but dismissed it for the same reasons I did. So this would make three of us who all noticed the same things on those gulls but wouldn't think much of it at the time, but now wish that we had in hind sight. But in hind sight yes we were all hoping for some out of the ordinary birds but not extraordinary which is the level one would clearly put a Sabine's Gull into so it's another lesson learned and a reminder that even the extraordinary is possible both before, during or after a hurricane as The Chickadee records can attest to.
Take care all.