Saturday, September 27, 2014

Heerman's Gull-A-Palooza

Last week Victoria birder Daniel Donnecke reported 100 Heerman's Gulls from Flora islet near Hornby Island. I assumed it was a typo, and forgot about it, as even one Heerman's Gull in these waters is noteworthy. Others then began questioning the sighting. One hundred Heerman's Gulls in the Salish Sea? Really? Well, yes, really! Daniel not only accurately reported what he had seen, he also took photos of large groups of Heerman's Gulls roosting on rocks. Wow! What a sighting!
On Friday the 26th, Donna and I had some time in the morning so we checked all of the spots around here where Heerman's Gulls have been seen in thee past. We were not disappointed. And had we searched on a better tide, and on a day without driving rain, I have no doubt we would have seen more. The numbers up here right now are unprecedented.
In 4 hours we saw 108 adults and 9 immatures,  for a total of 117 Heerman's Gulls.

Rathtrevor: 2 ad.
Englishman Estuary: 1 ad.
Parksville Bay: 0
French Creek Marina: 2 ad.
Columbia Beach: 3 ad. 1 imm.
Beach Creek: 5 ad.
Brant Viewing Stand: 22 ad. 2 imm.
Little Qualicum Estuary: 3 ad.
Big Qualicum: 0
Qualicum Bay: 0
Nile Creek: 54 ad. 6 imm.
Bowser Rd. 0
Jamieson Rd: 0
Shoreline Dr: 16 ad.
Deep Bay: 0

Today, I noticed an adult Heerman's Gull feeding in a large flock of California and Bonaparte's Gulls off Vesper Point. This is the third sighting of a Heerman's Gull for Moorecroft Regional park. There seems to be an amazing number in the central part of the Salish Sea right now.

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