This morning I found two, possibly four Franklin's
Gulls on a dock on the Ortega River. Per Google
Earth, this location is 20.7 miles from the mouth
of the St John's in a straight line, 27.1 if you follow
the river. Gulls have only been accumulating here
in decent numbers (more than 10 - 20) for about
a week. I have been checking regularly and thought
I had a Franklin's on a couple of prior occasions but
this time I was able to get better looks and to get
some pictures. Basically, I pointed my camera at
the left end of the dock and started shooting, moving
to the right. I did this at max zoom then I redid this
going a bit into digital zoom. Many of the birds are
actively preening so getting a picture with the bird's
head up was just luck. Link to 2 shots is below, the
Franklin's is in front of the Coke machine.

When I had checked the birds from my boat there
were two adjacent to each other but one apparently
moved when I walked to my car for the camera. Looking
at pictures from further down the dock there at least
two other birds that look good but aren't holding
their heads up properly. The pictures are labeled as
Ortega River Marina (which is where the Coke
machine is) but are actually on a dock behind a
small apartment building. Neither of those is
publicly accessible. A smallish office building is
just east of the apartment and has a parking lot
on the water. People often park there but mostly
after hours or on weekends. Early morning would
probably be best.

Bob Richter



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