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Field Trip Report

January 25, 2003 (Saturday) - FLORENCE, NJ

After a brutally cold week, the winds calmed down and the temps were at least acceptable for what turned out to be a fantastic field trip. With the river in front of Carey Park mostly frozen and just enough water open for gulls to bath in, there was an estimated 80,000 plus gulls on display for us to sift through. Though most were not in front of us, every once in a while huge numbers would take flight, making it pretty evident that even this estimate may be very conservative.

With at least 50 participants in attendance, the frozen water allowed us to view most of the gulls in resting mode, either standing with legs exposed or sitting down. We could not have asked for better conditions. Even though there was an outgoing tide, the only time it was evident was when a coast guard boat headed up river, breaking up the ice. 

For anyone that has yet to see or study Lesser Black-backed Gulls this is without a doubt one of the best place places in the country to do so. But today that specie took a back seat to the 'white-wings'. We began with a 1st winter Glaucous, then several 1st winter Iceland, one which may have shown characteristics of being a hybrid, due to it's bulkiness and then without a doubt the find of the day, Thayer's Gull. First a 1st winter bird playing hide and seek behind several Herring Gulls, that everyone in the group was able to get to see as it stood, preened, sat, slept and bathed and then an adult. An adult 'Kumlieni', as well as a sub adult Glaucous were also seen. All in all an outstanding day to study gulls

Species Seen:

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Common Merganser
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull - 2 1st W, -1 poss. 2nd W, 1 Adult

Iceland Gull - 6 1st W, 2 2nd W, 1 Adult
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 1st W, 4 2nd W,  40+ Adult
Glaucous Gull - 1 1st W, 1 sub Adult
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow

Adrian Binns 01/2003