Mew Gull

Larus canus


Jeff Ellerbusch
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eBird Checklist S33421873
Opie Road
Somerset, New Jersey, United States
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Latitude and Longitude 40.5192, -74.7178 Map

Not specified
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Observation details

2nd New Jersey record and 1st Somerset County record pending acceptance by NJBRC. Adult; slightly smaller than nearby RBGU; noticeably darker backed than surrounding RBGU; smaller, rounder head with slightly more heavily marked neck and head area than surrounding RBGU; apparent dark iris; small bill lacking dark markings. Low quality but useable pics below (poor light plus drizzle/mist). After slowly making my way west along the large SW field and upon finishing up my scanning of geese and gulls, all from the car due to rain, I glanced over at the last group of RBGU near the west end of the field that I hadn't paid any real attention to before this and this bird instantly jumped out as a great MEGU candidate. I watched and photographed the bird from the car for about 4 min (4:26-4:30pm according to camera exif data), everything looked fine for MEGU, and had just started looking down at my phone to start sending stuff out when the group including the MEGU picked up along with the rest of the gulls on the west end of the field. I quickly tried to relocate the bird for flight shots but everything was heading dead away (NE) and I was unable to get anything on the wings. The rest of the gulls and geese to the east started getting up and leaving to the NE as well over the next 5 or so minutes as light faded. Im not sure where the area's gulls roost and the numbers are very sporadic and hard to keep track of but they always head in an easterly direction in the evenings and seem to mainly come from the east in the mornings and through the day. This is consistent with birds seen in the mornings and evenings in areas just east of here like Duke Farms and Finderne Wetlands and implies that they are roosting down river somewhere. There are no known significant gull roosts in Somerset County. Another option would be the Hunterdon reservoirs though this would be inconsistent with their apparent daily movements. Yesterday's (1390) and today's (900) RBGU numbers are well above average for the area, I have had a count higher than these only once in the county. Poor weather conditions with precipitation are usually favorable for finding large gull numbers in the area's fields so there may be a drop off in numbers come tomorrow. Hopefully this bird will be re-found as it was not chaseable today.

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