Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sabine's Gull at Metzger Marsh

A juvenile Sabine's Gull turned up at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area on the afternoon of Sunday, November 21. Sabine's Gull is a very rare migrant in Ohio; records are now almost annual along the Lake Erie shoreline in the eastern half of the state, but there are very few records for the region between Toledo and Sandusky. Sabine's Gulls found in fall are often seen for only very brief periods, but this individual actually has stayed for more than a day, and it is still present on Tuesday morning, November 23.

See our map of Metzger Marsh (under "birding hotspots: directions and maps" on the BSBO birding pages) if you're not familiar with the area. The road in to the wildlife area ends at a parking lot on the edge of Lake Erie, with a concrete fishing pier extending out into the lake. The Sabine's Gull has been spending time in the area just east of this pier. Part of the time it rests on the water out on the lake, often with Bonaparte's Gulls, at which time the Sabine's can be picked out by its much darker upperparts. Occasionally it gets up and flies around, showing its spectacular wing pattern.

When I first found the bird I was afraid that it would not even stay long enough for anyone else to see it. Now that it has stayed for more than 24 hours, there is a chance that it will stick around for a few more days. I'll try to post updates here as they become available.

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