I saw something this morning- a new life list bird for me. It was easy to pick a topic for this post 🙂
After a very foggy Saturday morning drive, I showed up at Alum Creek State Park- the beach there, to be more specific. I had seen online that birders had spotted a rare bird there.
Last August, I had gone to the same place looking for a different bird. Even if August is still summer, some birds have already gotten a head start on the autumn migration season- particularly shorebirds.
The fog hung around for a while, shrouding everything in a misty glow. The sun was trying to break through.
Seagulls really like the sandy beach here. Ring-Billed Gulls are the most common species, often with a few Herring Gulls here and there. Since sandy beaches are scarce in central Ohio, the beach here is a great place to see unusual birds.
The above Ring-Bill walked with a pronounced limp- I wonder how it’s leg got hurt. It moved around well enough, though. I’ve seen shorebirds with broken legs that still hop around and get enough to eat.
Killdeer- those abundant inland shorebirds- like the beach as well.
Cormorants flew by, not far above the water.
A little ways off from the big flock of gulls was a lone bird, always standing at the edge of the water. It had a harsh call, unlike the others.
This was a Little Gull, a very descriptive name for the smallest gull in the world. It can get up to a foot long, which is pretty small for such birds.
This particular bird is an immature bird- it eventually will get an all-black head. When these birds are young, they wander- and since they typically live in Europe, they can wander very far! One bird that was banded as a nestling in Europe turned up in Pennsylvania the very first summer of its life.
Like some other gulls, this bird will take 3 years to become an adult- changing its appearance each year. Yes, seagulls can be difficult to identify…
There are rare colonies of this bird in North America- so it can be seen migrating along the east coast or around the Great Lakes. Seeing one in central Ohio is a treat- Lake Erie is a ways off.
This bird eats by standing along the water’s edge and grabbing floating food, such as insects or crustaceans. That’s why it looks like it’s looking out to sea. A very neat bird- one that may not be seen again for quite a while in this area. I’m glad I got to snap its picture- you never know what’s going to turn up!