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From: patrick leary [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2011 1:52 PM
To: Florida Birds
Subject: Common Terns, Gulls

 

Lt. Talbot Island State Park, Duval Co.   Incidental to a routine Piping
plover survey along the park's beach this morning, I noted many flocks of
Common terns passing down the beach. Upon my return to the park's
southernmost beach, I found a mixed roost of larids, including many COTE.
Over the next several hours, I observed numerous COTE flocks arrive, land to
rest and preen and/or take flight and continue on with another passing
flock.  

 

Also present on the beach were numbers of Great Black-Back and Lesser
Black-Back gulls. All of the former in adult form but many of the latter as
adult, sub-adult or juveniles. One of the GBBG was banded and I spent
considerable time attempting to decipher the numeric code. This bird was
"right minded" and lumbered along in the surf wash always facing to the
right, thus offering restricted views of its single leg band. This, despite
a sea breeze that had most of the larids facing east toward the ocean.  

 

Later on the flood tide, the numbers had swelled to ca 2000 birds including
Royal, Sandwich, Caspian, Common and (1) Black tern, along with the
aforementioned Black-backs and Laughing, Ring-billed and a few Herring
gulls.  Such larid aggregations are common along the  Atlantic shore this
time of year and offer prime opportunities to observer and study the various
species and plumage variations. Larid roost typically develop on higher tide
phases on beaches adjoining coastal inlets. 

 

Patrick Leary, Fernandina Beach, Nassau County


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