Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thayer's Gull, Brownsville Landfill, 2/14/2015

I went to the dump (excuse me, the Brownsville Sanitary Landfill) on 2/14 mostly because I could. There are very few dumps that allow birders access into the landfill, and I always enjoy the time I spent sorting through the gulls.  Others had found a Thayer's Gull earlier in the week, so I had my eyes peeled for a large, Herring Gull-sized first winter gull.  Here's the Thayers as I first saw it.  It looks massive compared to the Laughing Gulls.  There are some Herring Gulls behind it, and it still looks larger than I would  have expected for an Iceland Gull.  This bird is on the pale end of Thayer's Gull, yet to me it is too large and the secondary bar is too dark for an Iceland Gull.  
 I was entertained by the Thayer's Gull flying around chasing other gulls and returning to the same area in good light.  Note the darker outer webs to the primaries.  It was fairly windy so the gull was flying slowly (almost at stalling speed into the  wind) which made in flight photos easier to get.
It ended up close to the car, but not  near any Herring Gulls.  I guess that would have been asking too much!  If you go to the dump, go when it hasn't rained recently, take a high clearance vehicle, and stay out of the way of the trucks - both the workers and the dump trucks.  It's a rare treat to be allowed into a working landfill these days.