Frequent Flyer

12 03 2012

Herring Gull AAF has by far become the “frequent flyer” of our gull marking program.  AAF was tagged in June, spotted twice in October in northern Nova Scotia, multiple sightings along the Hudson River in New York state, and has now been seen in New Jersey.  On March 6th AAF was found at Spruce Run Reservoir near Clinton, NJ.  Alan Boyd reported this bird who comments  “It was associating with a mixed gull flock, mainly ring-billed.  A few herring and lesser black-backed gulls were also present.  The boat launch is not used much at this time of year so the beach area is probably the most popular spot for the gull flock to hang out on the reservoir.  Sometimes there are several thousand gulls there.  Spruce Run Reservoir is a staging area for lesser black-backed gulls at this time of year.  I don’t think anywhere else in NJ has the numbers that we get here.”

It’s exciting to get multiple sightings of a single bird throughout the year since this gives a good picture of their wintering range.  With a few more sightings between now and the breeding season we should be able to “track” AAF’s migration north and have a basic understanding of year-round ranging patterns.  Stay vigilant!

AAF went from Beacon, NY, to the Spruce Run Reservoir in Clinton, NJ, perhaps after the Hudson River froze up in the dead of winter.

AAF was spotted near a boat launch on the shorelines of Spruce Run Reservoir. The reservoir is the third largest in the state which acts as a water reserve during periods of drought. The reservoir is also used for recreational activities and seems to be a staging area for a variety of gull species.