23 February 2008

A Glaucous Gull and More Signs of Spring

Things seem to be changing in the valley. Some of the water that was frozen over a week or two ago is now open. There seem to be many more gulls and Canada Geese around (no Cackling Geese that I could find, and I've been looking). In the past two months I've been seeing mostly Ring-billed Gulls with a few California Gulls mixed in and maybe a Herring Gull if I'm lucky. Today the Ring-billed Gulls and California Gulls were in about even numbers, but I'd estimate I saw about five times as many total gulls today than any other day in the last two months. Herring Gulls also seem to have increased not just in numbers but also in proportion to the rest. I saw at least ten, maybe twenty today. The biggest find of the day was an immature Glaucous Gull in Cutler Marsh, a first for the year and a find almost as rare as the Mew Gull I found a few weeks ago. The Glaucous Gull was seen at the landfill earlier this week by Keith Archibald, according to rumor, but was not reported online; I don't know why. You can see the Glaucous Gull on the right in the photo above, next to a Ring-billed Gull (left) and a Herring Gull (middle) for comparison. Other highlights in the last two days included a Short-eared Owl at Cutler Marsh last night, a Barn Owl at the Logan Airport, and a flock of about five American Tree Sparrows in Benson today. I also saw courtship displays by Common Goldeneyes and Ring-necked Ducks today. Spring must be on the way! Right?

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