A Travellerspoint blog

Twitch: Short-billed Gull

Randall’s Island, NYC

rain 49 °F


Upon hearing that the vagrant Short-billed Gull (a would-be lifer) had reappeared on Randall’s Island, an island at the confluence of the Harlem & East Rivers between Harlem and Astoria, I knew I had to take advantage of the *exactly two hours* I had between an otherwise insane day of back-to-back coachings.

So, I rushed to my room, grabbed my rain gear (for it was pouring rain outside), and called an uber over to Randall’s.

During large rain events, the East River gull flocks roost on the ball fields and today was no exception. It was my first time birding Randall’s Island to observe this phenomenon. These are all RING-BILLED GULLS and I was looking for a gull of similar or slightly smaller size with smudgy head markings and a short, narrow, uni-colored bill.

Well, the Ring-billeds were a-plenty:

Then, birder Tim Healy shouted “I GOT IT!” so another intrepid birder who was there and I rushed over and sure enough, there was the SHORT-BILLED GULL!!! Based off my description of the bird, can you tell which one it is?

Yep! Lifer #1144, and my first lifer of 2023! (and my first since the October pelagic). This species was recently split from the Common Gull, a very close relative from Europe which I successfully twitched for the first time last year in Connecticut. The Short-billed Gull is from the Pacific Northwest — kinda strange I had never seen it till today.

So I grabbed a few quick photos of my bird-of-the-day:

But after about three minutes had to pack it up since the camera was getting wet in the downpour and I had to head back to a coaching (with the head of the Met Opera Young Artist Program of all people, so you can bet I was warming up on the walk back to the bus stop!).

Next up: Winter pelagic on January the 28th. Stay tuned and find out next!

Bird on,
World Life List: 1144 Species (1 new species today: Short-billed Gull)

Posted by skwclar 05:24 Archived in USA

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You ROCK you crazy birder!!!
Yes Bird On!!

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