Sunday, March 6, 2016

Gulls and eBird

On Friday, 4 March 2016, Erika and I enjoyed a lunch date at the San Pedro Cafe along the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin. As we ate, a heavy snow began to fall. After lunch, we scanned for birds at the Hudson Lakefront Park. Several gulls flew over the river.

Gulls are confusing. One of the advantages of using eBird is that this listing app asks you for confirming details when you try to report a rare bird. I thought I saw a Ring-billed Gull.  “Rare,” proclaimed eBird.  “OK,” I replied, “How about Herring Gull?” “Rare,” snarled eBird.

Rather than capitulating to eBird and not reporting these gulls, I pulled out my camera and took photos. That first bird proved to be a Herring Gull.  Note the red spot on the bill and the pink legs. A few minutes later, a second gull flew overhead. This one was a Ring-billed Gull! Note the yellow bill with the broad black band. This gulls back is pale compared with the Herring, and its inner primaries are even paler than the back.

Although they let you know when records are questioned, eBird is not very good at letting observers know when rare observations are accepted. I await their verdict.

No comments:

Post a Comment