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Subject:Early Glaucous Gull south, Dakota
From:Jim Mattsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jim Mattsson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 27 Oct 2009 19:34:30 -0400

Spring Lake Regional Park, Archery Range Unit
October 27, 2009 - probable 2nd cycle GLGU (appeared almost pure white)

3:45 p.m. Bright sunshine, looking ENE.
From overlook at trail's end by bench. 

White gull stood out in flock of 20 or so Herring Gulls. Initially about 600 m away but gradually came to about 450 m. With binocs only I could see nearly pure white upper and lower wing tips and generally all white elsewhere. Bill color not seen due to distance and bright sunlight, but legs appeared pink. Bird about 10% larger than HERGs with slightly less pointed primaries. Body bulkier than HERGs.  It dropped down out of sight behind veg island and appeared to land. I drove east about one mile to private access and refound the bird among perhaps a couple of thousand gulls, mostly Ring-billeds. It was standing on a floating log with 5 HERGs and was readily identifiable, even at the amazing distance of 1,100-1,200m (estimated using Google Earth ruler when I got home). Larger size and pure white wings visible, plus pink bill w/ solid black tip readily apparent. It flapped its wings several times when harassing other gulls.  It was aggressive and chased away any gull that came close. This is possibly the earliest record south. My information shows Oct 29 as earliest date south. 

Jim Mattsson

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