As I hustled down the tidal-flat boardwalk at Nisqually National Wildliufe Refuge, I paid scant attention to the many Ring-billed Gulls—except to take a this photo. As I glanced at another bird to my left, the bird alarm rang in my brain. The field marks did not add up. No ring or other markings on the bill. The bird seemed slightly small. The head seemed, rounder, more delicate than that of the Ring-billed Gull. “This could be an adult Mew Gull,” I thought as I began taking pictures.
Mew Gulls breed in the Canadian northwest and in Alaska. They also breed across much of much of northern Eurasia. Our birds winter off the Pacific coast of the United States. They are common in Puget sound from August until early May. Thus my September record is not exceptional. These are, however, my first photos of this species.