Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ring-billed Gull

Although it's a common summer bird in much of the rest of the rest of southern Canada, Ring-billed Gulls are uncommon to rare in most areas of coastal British Columbia. Although they are fairly common now in Vancouver and surrounding areas of the lower mainland, this is a relatively recent development, and as little as 50 years ago, they only occurred as a migrant. On Vancouver Island, they are now seen at all times of the year, although they are much harder to find outside of the Spring and Fall migration periods. In the Parksville-Qualicum Checklist Area, they are most difficult to find in Winter, and unless one knows the location of a bird that has been frequenting a certain area over a long period of time, such as the adult that has overwintered at Parksville Bay for years now, one has little chance of finding one.

So, it was a bit of a surprise today when a lovely adult Ring-billed Gull joined the large flock of Mew and Thayer's Gulls chasing bait fish just off Jinglepot Bay, in Moorecroft Regional Park. I have been doing regular surveys here since mid October, and this is the first time I have noted this species at this site.
Other interesting species in the park today included;
Ancient Murrelet: 19
Marbled Murrelet: 28
Herring Gull: 3 (also uncommon in this area)
Anna's Hummingbird: 3
Red-breasted Sapsucker: 1 (hard to find in winter)
Townsend's Warbler: 1

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