First, and in brief, there was broad, almost universal consensus on the Dead Bird Quiz: Bird A is an immature Bonaparte’s Gull and Bird B is a Snowy Egret (and Mary Wright even went a step further saying it’s an after-second-year (ASY) bird “based on the broad outer primaries.”) I buy this entirely since Mary knows her birds.
I won’t do my usual parsing of how we got to these identifications since I am now in an island mindset and all my usual responsibilities have gone out the window. Our gull sighting and banding team assembled on Appledore Island in Maine today and got right to work. Long-time guller Bill Clark, two undergraduates (Carly Emes and Allie Nadler) and yours truly are scouring the island looking for the banded gulls of Dr. Julie Ellis. Our focus this week is to find and document as many banded Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls as possible, note the locations of their nests, and, if their mates are not already banded, to band their mates too.
The weather is cool but lovely and most of the week should be much the same. We’re hoping for a spectacular run out here, and we’re off to a good start: 37 banded birds seen and sixteen nests tagged. Tomorrow, given a full day to work, who knows what kinds of numbers we’ll be posting. The fresh air, steady hiking and very hearty meals have a soporific effect; Carly is already asleep and the sun’s not yet quite set. Gull banders don’t have to rise so inhumanly early as songbird banders, but still, we would do well to learn from our colleague’s example. So off to bed for me as well.
Until tomorrow, dear readers.