While at my computer Sunday after getting home from the field trip, I was composing my blog when birding companion, John Marvin (eyewitness to the now famous Hamilton County Yellow Rail) called and asked if I had looked at Allan Claybon’s Flickr page. When John phrases a question like that to you my red lights go on and I immediately think, what did Allan just find.While I was minimizing my blog and re-opening my browser, John told me he had spotted a SABINE’S GULL at East Fork State Park, and he had posted a picture of it.
You’ve got to be kidding me! A Sabine’s Gull in Clermont County! According to Peterjohn, you could count of both hands the total of Sabine’s Gulls spotted in the interior of Ohio. The majority of them are sighted on or near Lake Erie.
John was planning on going out on Monday after getting off work. For myself I had a few things to get done before vacation and this gnawed at me for most of the day. But as luck would have it work lightened up and I was able to leave early, get my chores done, meet John, and head out for a chance of another lifer.
We arrived at the beach at about 5:45 and was greeted with a small flock of gulls on the beach and a couple of birders. When asked if the Sabine’s was still around, one of the birders said it was but flew off. He reassured us that it has done that for most of the day and usually comes back. So we wait, and wait, and wait. Till someone said, hey there it is, half buried in the sand.
Amongst this flock of Ring-billed Gulls and a few Bonaparte’s Gulls sits the Sabine’s Gull nestled down in the sand. At 13 1/2″ to 14″ this is a small gull compared to the Ring-billed Gull at 17″ to 17 1/2″, so you can see how hidden this bird was to us.
After about 10 minutes it got up and flew off towards the dam. We still had some time, so we watched as it flew away. So we waited, and waited ,and waited for it’s return. And again it returned without anyone seeing it. Some bird watchers we turned out to be. This time he/she was laying in the midst of the other gulls where he/she tucked it’s head into their body and went to sleep.
So this is where we left the Sabine’s Gull as we returned to John’s car to go home. But just one more picture before we go, and this time it’s of a Bonaparte’s Gull. It turned out pretty well, even in the fading light.
So in the past 2 days I’ve had 2 life birds. I’m exhausted. I need a vacation.