[Tweeters] Puget Sound Ring-billed Gulls (was "Edmonds Roundup")

Matt Dufort matt.dufort at gmail.com
Fri Sep 6 18:12:10 PDT 2019

Hi all,

I just wanted to echo Carol Riddell’s comments about Ring-billed Gulls on
Puget Sound. I don’t bird Edmonds very often, but I’m at Discovery Park in
Seattle at least once a week. Though Ring-billed Gulls do show up there,
they are definitely not common - any day I see more than 1 is notable. I
routinely see hundreds of Mew and California gulls without a single
Ring-bill. In my experience, they are much more common just a couple miles
inland at freshwater sites in the city than they are on the salt water.

Another species with an oddly patchy local distribution in Seattle is Tree
Swallow. They nested at Discovery this year, but most years they are tough
to find. This despite being quite common at the Montlake Fill, and regular
at Green Lake (though usually greatly outnumbered there by Violet-greens).

It’s a helpful reminder to pay closer attention to these common species
that require just a bit more effort to identify.

Good birding,
Matt Dufort

On Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 7:34 PM Carol Riddell <cariddellwa at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Tweets,


> Shorebird migration at the Edmonds marsh and along the waterfront has been

> one of the thinnest in memory. With so little to report, I decided to

> combine two months of sightings.


> A Mourning Dove (code 3) finally showed up at the marsh on July 4th and

> made a second appearance on July 19th. We saw one along the waterfront on

> August 14th and wondered whether it was the same bird hanging around the

> city. One Mourning Dove sighting a year is usually pretty good for Edmonds.


> A Wilson’s Phalarope (code 4) was at the marsh briefly on July 7th. Two

> Long-billed Dowitchers (code 3) arrived along with two more Greater

> Yellowlegs (code 3) on July 12th. A Turkey Vulture (code 3) was seen along

> Edmonds Way on July 14th, the second sighting in the city this year. That

> may be as good as it gets. One of the Parks Department beach rangers

> reported seeing two Semipalmated Plovers (code 3) at Marina Beach on July

> 19th. Lesser Yellowlegs is a code 4 species for Edmonds, yet we have had

> multiple sightings this summer. The first was on July 28th.


> A Semipalmated Sandpiper (code 3) arrived on the Brackett’s Landing beach,

> just north of the jetty, along with a small flock of Western Sandpipers, on

> August 1st. There has been at least one sighting in the marsh. A Cassin’s

> Auklet (code 4) was off the public pier on August 5th. It offered great

> scope views under good viewing conditions but was too distant for a photo.

> There was one Pectoral Sandpiper (code 3) in the marsh, briefly, on August

> 27th.


> We have had some obvious misses so far this year, including Yellow-headed

> Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Cliff Swallow. In

> general, this was a poor year for swallows in Edmonds. That said, at least

> one brood hatched from a pair of Tree Swallows and another from a pair of

> Violet-green Swallows. It looked like the small Purple Martin colony on the

> Olympic Beach pilings produced a number of young. There has been little

> swallow activity lately except for migrating Barn Swallows foraging at the

> boat entrance to the marina, best seen from the public pier.


> I haven’t seen any loons yet and still have not been able to find a

> Ring-billed Gull for our year list. Yes, there have been many reports of

> that species in eBird, including one incredible report of nine birds.

> Ring-billed Gull is on eBird’s basic checklists for Snohomish County

> because it is common in other parts of the county. It is rarely in Edmonds

> and those of us who bird here regularly have never seen more than one at a

> time. We do not add undocumented reports of this gull to our year list

> because of the number of apparent misidentifications of subadult California

> Gulls. They do, of course, remain in eBird public data unless questioned by

> an eBird reviewer. If you are an eBirder, you can help us build our year

> lists by either including a photo of the Ring-billed Gull or a good

> description of multiple field marks. And that is helpful to us for any bird

> that is a code 3 or rarer in Edmonds.


> The waterfront is beginning to look a little bit like fall. A few Mew

> Gulls are back and there has been a large gathering of Bonaparte’s Gulls

> the past few days. Western, Red-necked, and Horned Grebes are returning. So

> are Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants. A few Surf Scoters are being

> seen, and there was a flock of twelve Common Mergansers near the Shell

> Creek beach the other day. A male Harlequin Duck in basic plumage has been

> hanging around for the last few days. I’ll note it again in the next

> roundup, but about two dozen American White Pelicans flew over Edmonds

> today, heading west, probably to Deer Lagoon on Whidbey Island.


> We finished August at 163 species for the year. Species on our collective

> list are noted in the bird information display box at the Olympic Beach

> Visitor Station at the base of the public pier. If you would like an

> electronic copy of the current Edmonds checklist, please request it at

> checklistedmonds at gmail.com.


> Carol Riddell

> Edmonds, WA


> Abundance codes: (1) Common, (2) Uncommon, (3) Harder to find, usually

> seen annually, (4) Rare, 5+ records, (5) Fewer than 5 records

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