There are only so many “regular” ducks that come through our area that we are finishing up checking them all off our list. Randy and Steve each know what we’re still looking for. One of those was the Bufflehead. Steve texted me saying they were on the lake this morning. We headed in, but it was extremely foggy. All we could see were blobs out on the water. Bummer.
The haze hung on into the afternoon. I needed to get a haircut this afternoon, so Evan and I went into to town together. We’d try the lake one more time. It was still pretty hazy, but at least we could make out bird species. We got our Bufflehead lifer this time. As I scanned the birds, a certain seagull stood out. Normally I dismiss seagulls because the difference in species is so subtle, and I’ve never liked gulls. This was something we had never seen – a seagull with a black head. I snapped the best pictures I could to help me identify it. There are a few species with heads like this. It seems to combine features of a couple of them. It was a life bird, for sure, but which one?
After our rare encounter with the Greater White Fronted Geese a couple days ago, Randy wanted to know of any lifers for us. As novices, we may not know what is rare or not, and I don’t think he wanted to take the chance on missing something good. So I called him up. No answer. I got home and emailed him the pics. Within minutes he said he was heading out with his spotting scope to investigate.
He called me later, and said he found the gull and watched it. However, he didn’t know what it was. He saw it fly and dismissed the possibility of a Bonaparte’s. He was going to study his books some more and perhaps send the photos off to some gull experts he knows. So, we found something good, but what is it? Steve and I are leaning Franklin’s Gull. What do you think? For now, we just have to wait.