What a day! Today, 1/21, Alvaro Jaramillo, Bob Wallace and I led a field trip for the Space Coast Birding festival to the Tomoka Landfill, Daytona Beach, Volusia County. The birds were difficult to see, but we did find Thayer's and Kumlien's Gulls. Later, we took most of the group to Daytona Beach Shores for the evening fly-in. We were not disappointed. First, we found a banded adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. Alvaro did some research this evening and it turns out that this bird was banded on an island off of New Hampshire and is the second known breeding Lesser Black-backed Gull found in North America outside of Greenland. A celebrity bird on our beach!

Next, we found a 1st winter Thayer's Gull, then shortly after found a 1st winter Kumlien's Gull.  At this point most folks left us, but Alvaro, Bob, Dotty Robbins and I continued on. Soon, we found a  stunning adult Franklin's Gull in full breeding plumage. Shortly after that we found a bird that looks like a possible 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull. We are still working on the details of that one.

The gulls continued to arrive until there were tens of thousands on the beach.  At about 6 pm, the birds leave the beach and fly a short way offshore to roost for the night.  It was a spectacular sight to see some 30,000 (?) gulls streaming offshore. Soon a huge wave of gulls rose up out of the ocean. We scanned and then found 1 and then a second Pomarine Jaeger harrassing the gulls.  What a great end to an amazing day with the gulls.


Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet

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