Little Gull

I saw something this morning- a new life list bird for me.  It was easy to pick a topic for this post 🙂

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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.

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The fog hung around for a while, shrouding everything in a misty glow.  The sun was trying to break through.

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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.

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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.

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Killdeer- those abundant inland shorebirds-  like the beach as well.

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Cormorants flew by, not far above the water.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!