Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Indiana Little Gull

Eric writes:

Rob needed a Little Gull for his state list, so we headed out to Turtle Creek Reservoir in western Indiana, where one has been present since November 2nd. Needless to say, this bird will probably spend the rest of the winter in this location.  We decided to stop by the Dugger Unit of Greene-Sullivan State Forest before heading over to Turtle Creek since I had birded the location a few days before with great results.

A first-year, light morph Rough-legged Hawk.  One of the many raptors we observed on the day.
It was amazing how much of a difference a few days made at Dugger; it was still great birding but the species mix was much different.  On Saturday, we had over 1500 Snow Geese but on this day we didn't come across a single "white" goose species.  However, we had a much greater diversity of ducks and a nice highlight, at least one Brewer's Blackbird.  We also had a nice diversity of raptors although we didn't end up with anything unusual.

Part of one of the Snow Geese flocks.  Can you spot any Ross's?
When we arrived at Turtle Creek, we got our fill of "white" geese, including 2 Ross's in a Snow Goose flock that flew directly overhead.  We ended up estimating a total of 2500 Snow Geese as well as much lower numbers of Greater White-fronted and Canada.  Once we reached the north end of the reservoir, where the Little Gull spends most of its time.  All of the gulls took flight after a couple minutes and we quickly located the Little but, it was only in view for about a minute before heading south.

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