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December 2011


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Jason Caddy <[log in to unmask]>
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Jason Caddy <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:16:24 -0700
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I was in Duluth for the day and decided to look for the Greater Black-backed Gull that was reported on the Minnesota entry break wall in Canal Park. There were several gulls resting at 10:00am and I did find my "first state" juvenile Greater Black-backed Gull which I studied for a long time and compared to the Herring Gulls of all ages. A stark white juvenile Glaucous Gull and Ring-billed Gulls were also present. I walked back to my car very pleased with the four gull species that I had seen and started to write notes about them when something caught my eye out the car window. A gull flew over the lake that had black wing edges. I had to get back out of the car to see if I was just imagining things. While standing on the shoreline I was able to relocate the bird flying west over the water towards the city and I immediately noticed a bold M pattern on its back. At that point I was thinking it was either a Sabine's Gull or Black-legged Kittiwake. Luckily for me the bird starting flying back towards the break wall and to my surprise actually started heading straight towards me and I began noting its features. It had a very thick and distinct black nape and a black mark between the eye and the neck. The head was mostly white. The black on the nape formed a distinct collar that is unlike that of an adult Sabine's Gull. There was also black at the end of its tail. The mantle of the bird was definitely gray and the black M pattern was relatively thick. It looked to be around the same size as a Ring-billed Gull or slightly smaller. Its flight was more buoyant and tern-like than that of a Ring-billed Gull. I continued to have great observations of it as it flew back east towards Park Point. This is the first time that I have found a casual/accidental species on my own (in the 6 years I have been a birder) without somebody else finding it first, so it is a very special bird for me. I have only seen Black-legged Kittiwakes once before on a pelagic boat trip out of Newport, Oregon. I think I need to submit this to the MOU record committee for review.       Good Birding,      Jason Caddy      Minneapolis 		 	   		  
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