Attracted to Beacons

5 02 2012

On the move. AAF has been our most frequently sighted Herring Gull from Sable Island. October 3 and 7th found AAF at Beacon St. Dam in Glace Bay, NS. January 22nd AAF was spotted at Beacon, NY, on the shores of the Hudson River. These places are about 1250 km (770 miles) apart. As the gull flies, a journey back to Sable would be 1180 km (730 miles).

Last seen in early October at Beacon St. Dam in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Herring Gull AAF was seen again last week on the shorelines of Beacon, New York!  (what a strange coincidence in names??)  On January 22nd about 30 members of the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club  set out to Beacon, NY, to search the shorelines of the Hudson River for a rare gull.  They were looking for a Slaty-backed Gull (that breeds in western Alaska) which had been spotted here just a few days earlier.  Disappointingly their rare bird wasn’t found that day, but while scanning through a mixed flock of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls (plus a few Great Black-backed Gulls and Iceland Gulls)  they came across AAF among the crowd.

Found late in the afternoon on the shoreline of the Hudson River, Deb Kral an Jesse Jaycox, tell me this is a regular night-roosting spot for gulls.  AAF was first seen that day flying over a local farmers market where it had been eating bread tossed out, then later it joined another group of gulls for dog kibbles along the road side.  Deb tells me that the gulls of this area take off every morning around 7:00 a.m. and are thought to be foraging around the local prison (maybe near a garbage dump?), but return in the evenings to roost.

AAF stands on the frozen water of the Hudson River shoreline in Beacon, NY. Thank you to Deb Kral for this beautiful photo.

Adapting to riverfront park life, AAF dives in for some dog food among the Ring-billed Gulls and along side a juvenile Iceland Gull.

AAF was spotted again three days later by Ken McDermott  in Newburgh, NY, on the western shores of the Hudson River.  This time AAF was on a floating dock along the waterfront of some very nice restaurants, directly across from Beacon, NY.  Ken tells me “it is a place where gulls are normally found though not at this time of the year.  In a “normal” year the Hudson is practically frozen solid with icebreakers keeping the shipping lane open.  This winter has been so mild that there is NO ice on the river and exceedingly little along even the edges.

Two sightings three days and 1.5 km apart. AAF seems to be frequenting the shorelines and floating docks on the Hudson River between Beacon and the City of Newburgh.