Bird Chasers #10, Manitowoc WI 7/14/2014

little gull flying

#654 Little Gull, Manitowoc Harbor, July 13-14, 2014

Although later May is generally the best month to find Little Gulls along the Lake Michigan shoreline in east-central Wisconsin. Many of the Lakefront cities such as Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers usually harbor one or two summering individuals. This year they have also been seen in Kewaunee and Algona, but even now in July they have still been hanging out in Manitowoc and Sheboygan.  So with nothing to report for nearly two months in the North America off I drove.

As it turns out, most of these birds are 1st summer individuals, lingering back with the small flocks of sub-adult, non-breeding, Bonaparte’s Gulls. For the last 3 years or so, this species has been rebounding on the WI lakefront, and so as I drove into Manitowoc, it seems, there have been up to 10 reported around the Marina.

It took some time for me to figure them out along the marina but as I did, I saw 2 on the 13th.  Then I stayed overnight and decided to get better looks at them in the morning just to make sure.

manitowoc birds 022 (3)

this one, the first, made ID difficult as it was in a sea of immature Bonepart’s Gulls but has small bill, black on its head on top and black m shaped black on the tops of the wings and was a smaller bird, my first little gull, bird #654 another view

manitowoc birds 073 (3)

I saw better ones the next day as two of the first year birds have black mantles

little gulls.

I also saw the dreaded mystery gull

manitowoc birds 009 (3)

Maybe a great black-backed gull first year, good sized doesn’t look like a herring immature, and despite rumors of a glaucous hanging about, this doesn’t look like one of those

I was really a nice day on Lake Michigan before the weather went wrong on July 14th

common tern and little gull

Here you can see the size of a little gull, far right of picture (mantle, orange feet) with three common terns in the foreground and assorted Bonepart’s in the background, cleaner white heads, larger bills, bigger slightly.  This was my morning, sorting gulls.

I also appreciated a song sparrow who tried to mix up the squawk just a bit manitowoc birds 088 (3)but it was just a gull kind of morning


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