Gulls love New York

12 02 2013

Sable Island birds seem to have a liking for New York (state that is).  Last year Herring Gull AAF was spotted more than once in New York state before it moved a little further south to New Jersey for the winter.   Last week we posted an entry about Ipswich Sparrows on the beaches of Long Island, NY.  Now, on new year’s day 2013, Herring Gull AFX was spotted on the shorelines of Long Island, only 10 days before the Ipswich sighting.

The bird was spotted and photographed by Angus Wilson who runs his own blog about birding on Long Island.  Here is what Angus had to say about his encounter with a Sable Island Herring Gull.

The location (Fort Pond Bay, Montauk) is a shallow, boulder strewn bay with a road running along the edge of the sandy beach providing access to a few houses and summer rental places. AFX was on the small lawn of an occupied house with some other Herring Gulls, hence my brief study. Perhaps the occupant put bread out? I usually check this beach when I’m in the area because it’s popular for loafing gulls, especially migrant Lesser Black-backed Gulls passing through in September and the occasional wintering individual. The peninsula (South Fork of Long Island) is very narrow at this point and gulls routinely shuttle over from the Atlantic Ocean side (<1 mile) to bathe in the freshwater of Fort Pond and loaf on the beach. I suspect most of these birds feed offshore or wait to intercept commercial fishing boats returning to nearby Montauk Harbor.  

AFX was spotted at the northern tip of Long Island, NY.  Photo courtesy of Angus Wilson.

AFX was spotted at the northern tip of Long Island, NY. Photo courtesy of Angus Wilson.

Taken together, these sightings of Sable Island gulls in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are starting to give us a clear picture of the winter-range for this population.

Thanks again to the keen gull watchers out there.

Rob Ronconi

Halifax, NS

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