Glaucous Gull - 03 Jan 2022

I cut out of work a bit early today and took a drive along the Detroit River on the way home. Stopping at Bishop Park for a few minutes I took the opportunity to photograph a 1st-cycle ( 1st winter) Ring-billed Gull. What was most interesting about these birds  was the distinctive pink-toned bill and feet when backlit.

Next stop was Elizabeth Park to scope the Detroit River for a possible white-winged gull. I didn't see any, but did see four Great Black-backed Gull among the Ring-billed Gulls that were floating down river.

As I drove through the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge I saw a text that Karen Markey had found the Little Gull at JP's Waterfront Restaurant in Gibralter. I beat it over there but did not see it. Karen was there and informed me that it hadn't been seen in over 40 minutes. A scope of the river did yield a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls, 3 more Great Black-backed Gulls, and more Ring-billed and Herring Gulls

I then decided to take a drive back to Crosswinds Marsh to look for shrikes, owls and geese. None were seen, but I took the opportunity to photograph the Herring Gulls as they flew over the snow-covered burms of the landfill. With blue skies and bright sunshine bouncing off the snow the gulls glowed white as they soared overhead. Note the white mirrors on P9 and P10 feathers. 

A Great Black-backed Gull among them was a nice standout with its black primaries and secondaries.

With two large kettles of gulls circling over Crosswinds Marsh I stopped along Haggerty Rd and scoped the fresh, ice-covered marsh. Hundreds of Herring Gulls were packed together across the ice with flocks of Canada Geese and 122 Sandhill Cranes.

While scoping the gulls I caught a pair of white wings that belonged to a Glaucous Gull. The white gull appeared chunky, larger than the Herring Gulls, and had the distinct pink two-toned bill of a first winter bird. It was swimming in the only patch of open water and was difficult to digiscope. 

When the entire flock lifted off I took the opportunity to grab some flight shots. I spent some time scanning the photos to see if I could find the Glaucous Gull but couldn't. I was surprised how many Great Black-backed Gulls were among the Herring Gulls. 

Another circuit of the landfill failed to turn up the Northern Shrike or Snowy Owl, so I took off for home.



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