Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sabine's Gull!

The big news the past few days, for those of you not tied into the Ohio Birds network, is a Sabine's Gull, Xema sabini. This small species ranks high among the world's most beautiful gulls, and is probably my favorite amongst the Larid tribe. It is a major rarity in Ohio with only a few reports a year, and most of those are flybys on Lake Erie on blustery October or early November days. That's how I've seen my two of my Ohio birds. Except for the oddity that overwintered at Cleveland in 1989 and stayed along the lakefront throughout much of the remainder of that year. This one is a juvenile, as are nearly all Ohio birds.

This bird has been present at least since last Tuesday at the fish hatchery on the eastern shore of Grand Lake St. Marys in Auglaize County. Interestingly, it is at least the second record for the lake; another was found near here back on October 20, 1956. Thanks to Troy Shively for being good with the camera and getting these pics.

Unmistakable brown and white wedges of a juvenile Sabine's Gull. This species is very pelagic and winters off the coast of South America in the Pacific, although birds from the eastern part of the breeding range winter off Africa. This one has a long ways to go.

Another nice shot by Troy Shively.

And Troy's best effort, a truly great shot of this gorgeous gull. Work certainly gets in the way of things; I would have been over there in a heartbeat to see this animal otherwise. But, it has been there at least three days and that's certainly atypical for this wanderer. Who knows, maybe it'll stay for a while longer and we can all get over to appreciate it.

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