Illinois Birders' Forum

RARE BIRDS => Rare Bird Alerts => : Greg Neise January 16, 2012, 11:02:27 AM

: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 16, 2012, 11:02:27 AM
Adam Sell just called to report that he has relocated and confirmed the MEW GULL seen by Beau Schaefer over the weekend.

It's in the north harbor (north side of the yacht club) with the Herring Gulls.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 16, 2012, 11:25:15 AM
I went there for the last 2 days looking for this bird, and now I have to study for finals. Oh well, hope it stays. Great refind.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: bill rudden January 16, 2012, 01:08:01 PM
Wow! I'm not sure who Beau Schaefer is, but, congrats are in order.
  There isn't ten birders in all of Chicago's birding history
who have found their own Mew Gull.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: psweet January 16, 2012, 02:49:22 PM
Kudos also to Adam for relocating it not once, today, but twice -- once for himself and again for Andy, Greg, and me.  It was last seen at 4:20 p.m. flying out towards the lake.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Adam Sell January 16, 2012, 03:08:57 PM
Excited  that some other birders got to see the Mew and that Greg got to knock off numero uno so early in the year.  Many excellent photos are on the way, none of which will be mine.  Here's the one photo I got.  Find the Mew Gull...
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: psweet January 16, 2012, 03:35:21 PM
Well, the "excellent photos" was clearly a reference to Greg -- but here's a few shots, including two of the bird flying directly overhead.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: beauschaefer January 16, 2012, 03:55:54 PM
Great job, Adam! That was pure determination on your part. Thanks for your efforts.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 16, 2012, 04:32:24 PM
Nemesis #1 becomes IL # 364.

Thanks Beau and Adam! Here's some more shots ... not sure how great they are:

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_7972.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8019.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8021.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8054.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8063.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8083.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8097.jpg)

(http://www.ilbirds.com/images/MEGU2/20120117_8127.jpg)
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 16, 2012, 04:43:48 PM
This bird looks like an adult to me, what do others think?
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Matthew Cvetas January 16, 2012, 05:34:27 PM
This bird looks like an adult to me, what do others think?

I don't really see any hint of black on the primary coverts or alula, which would indicate a 3rd cycle type. Still, there does seem to be a bit more black on P8 and perhaps, just perhaps, the white mirror on P9 is smaller than expected for an adult.

Still, fantastic looking Mew Gull, Beau! Nice going Adam on relocating her and great pics, Greg!

Wish I could have been there. Where was my phone call?   ;)
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Steve Spitzer January 16, 2012, 05:59:36 PM
Does this bird have a ring on the bill? Looks like it in the second to last shot from Greg.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Nathan Goldberg January 16, 2012, 06:02:44 PM
Steve I'm thinking from the distance and cropping factor, that is just noise. It could very well have a bill marking that I can't tell from here.

Anywho, amazing find guys! Make it stay until Saturday!

Nathan
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: psweet January 16, 2012, 06:08:40 PM
Steve, in the scope it appeared to have a little bit of dusky color just above a bit of pale red, just above the gonydeal angle.  Definitely not what I'd call a ring, but enough to show up on the photos once you up the contrast a bit.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: beauschaefer January 16, 2012, 06:14:03 PM
Well, I definitely recall my bird having a dark tip which shows pretty well in Greg's photos, I think.
Beau
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: beauschaefer January 16, 2012, 06:19:06 PM
Definitely looks like the bird I saw. Thanks for all the great pics, Greg.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Ethan Gyllenhaal January 16, 2012, 06:27:35 PM
Something interesting about this bird is how small the mirrors are. I'd guess this would suggest a subadult bird, any other thoughts? I'm pretty sure Common and Kamchatka can be ruled out.

Ethan
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: David B. Johnson January 16, 2012, 06:30:23 PM
The smudge on the lower mandible of the Mew Gull photographed can be there! I've seen this before in WA and in Wisconsin on a bird Andy Sigler and I observed several years ago at the Milwaukee Metro lakefront sewage treatment area.   

This is a perfect Mew Gull, nice job!  I believe that this is Lake County Illinois's second record.

Nice bird Beau and Adam!  Thanks for sharing!
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Matthew Cvetas January 16, 2012, 07:20:01 PM
I believe that this is Lake County Illinois's second record.

Might be the third.

January 20-25, 1993, Waukegan, Lake County (Al Stokie) (MJIB 2:3:100-101) (MJIB 2:3:111)
     January 20, 1993, Waukegan, Lake County (Al Stokie)
     January 21, 1993, Waukegan, Lake County (Danny Diaz, Dave Johnson)
     January 22, 1993, Waukegan, Lake County (Jim Neal, Dave Johnson)     
February 1, 1994, Waukegan, Lake County (Danny Diaz) (IORC 1994.005; DD, DBJ) (MJIB 3:3:116) (MJIB 7:2:56)
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Eric Secker January 16, 2012, 10:06:04 PM
Thanks so much for posting this on IBET too Greg! For crying out loud why wouldn't you?  :'(
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Amar Ayyash January 17, 2012, 07:09:53 AM
Congrats are in order for sure - nice catch Beau and thanks for refinding and confirming the bird, Adam.

Something interesting about this bird is how small the mirrors are. I'd guess this would suggest a subadult bird, any other thoughts? I'm pretty sure Common and Kamchatka can be ruled out.

Ethan

Ethan brings up a good point about the mirrors, especially those on P9. I recently observed (and photographed) several adult Mews with similar sized mirrors on P9 and even an individual with a broken one. So, I don't think the size of the mirrors - alone - are sufficient to dump this bird in the 3rd cycle category. If these mirrors are in any way an age-related yardstick, then this bird is likely a very young adult!

A question to think about, for those seduced by the finer points of ageing their gulls, is, could this still be a 3rd cycle (or adult-type) despite the adult-ish outer primary coverts? I guess what I'm trying to say is, does it get a perfect "10" in the adult category? What troubles me the most is P8 - does anyone have a better shot of this feather, or could yesterday's zealous observers speak about what looks like an absent gray tongue and white tongue tip? This is a distinguishing feature that is shown by Common.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Craig Taylor January 17, 2012, 07:15:49 AM
Eric wondered why this wasn't put out on IBET.  So do I.  Adam had the bird at 1PM and nothing to IBET?

While Eric questions Greg, I'll expand it to include Adam, Paul and Andy.  I am surprised no one thought to get this onto IBET ASAP. 

: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Adam Sell January 17, 2012, 07:24:57 AM
I got the bird at noon, then lost the bird for a few hours while others were on their way.  Have no fancy phone to get it onto IBET.  Possibly just a mistake was made, which happens.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Eric Secker January 17, 2012, 08:00:28 AM
Well, Adam, you did the right thing by calling someone to spread the word.  I figured you weren't anywhere with access to internet yourself.  Paul and Andy don't seem to have access all the time either, not sure.  Obviously Greg was able to post it here, just wish he would have posted it on IBET as well and can't understand why he wouldn't.

It's so much easier to check an e-mail list throughout the day then to load a forum on one's phone all day long to check for rare bird posts. A lot of people also just post a link to IBF on IBET or subscribe to notifications to IBF.  This is quite an inconvenience to anyone using their phone.  It's quite simple to hit copy, paste and post a message to both places.

Also, I keep an archive of all IBET posts going back through 2002 that I can easily search through.  I can search IBF but it is a slower process and because of the discussion format there are also a lot more posts that pull up that aren't of actual sightings.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Matthew Cvetas January 17, 2012, 08:11:07 AM
What troubles me the most is P8 - does anyone have a better shot of this feather, or could yesterday's zealous observers speak about what looks like an absent gray tongue and white tongue tip? This is a distinguishing feature that is shown by Common.

The amount of black on P8 is something I noticed and stated earlier in this thread. I assume Amar means that the lack of gray tongue and white tongue tip on P8 is suggestive of the nominate subspecies, known in Europe as Common Gull (Larus canus canus).
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Tom Kelly January 17, 2012, 08:12:09 AM
The advanced search on this forum is actually quite good, allowing searches by categories, poster/user, etc.  Not sure how you store the IBET messages, but I don't find searching this forum to be problematic.  And for the purposes of archives, there is now a record on IBET.


Also, a simple request/reminder to post rare birds on both sites would seem to suffice in this case, rather than calling out individuals.  Greg, and others who post here more than on IBET are generally good about posting 'Alerts' to both places.  My guess is that he was rushing out the door to go get the bird and didn't have a chance.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Matthew Cvetas January 17, 2012, 08:14:22 AM
Or, I thought Greg had it setup that IBF automatically posted an RBA to IBET. Not sure if that feed is down or not. Looks like the last of these automatic posts was in November with the Montrose Townsend's Solitaire.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 17, 2012, 08:36:29 AM
Or, I thought Greg had it setup that IBF automatically posted an RBA to IBET. Not sure if that feed is down or not. Looks like the last of these automatic posts was in November with the Montrose Townsend's Solitaire.

"My guess is that he was rushing out the door to go get the bird and didn't have a chance."

A bit of both, actually. IBF is set up to automatically send RBA notifications (of new posts only ... not replies) to IBET. But, it has to be "reset" after each occurrence, and it appears that I forgot/neglected to do that.

Sorry about that.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Scott Cohrs January 17, 2012, 09:10:29 AM
Here's a suggestion for those who find searching the Forum cumbersome or time consuming, even on a smart phone (myself included).  I set this up about a month ago and it works quite nicely.  It's only a solution for those with smart phones, but it might help some people. 

All of the forum topics on this site are RSS feeds.  Meaning, you can subscribe to them using different RSS reading gadgets.  One of the popular ones is Google Reader.  You only need an e-mail address and a password to set up an account.  Once, you open an account, you can subscribe to any of the topic feeds.  Right now, I am subscribed to the Rare Bird and Field Trips report feed.  When something new is posted, that post will show up in the reader similar to an e-mail. 

Now, the handy part are the apps for the smart phones (go figure!!).  I use one called Reader, which I believe is free.  This syncs to your Google Reader account and will bring all your unread posts together under groupings.  You simply browse the grouping titles to see what has been posted.  I don't even read 95% of what comes up, but I can tell by the title if anything interesting has been seen.  You can add IBET as an RSS feed as well, and this app allows you to browse both at the same time.  I find Reader to be very easy to use, and this all takes under 10 minutes to set up. 

Of course, you have to check this for it to work, and I didn't look until later in the afternoon.  Couldn't have broken away anyway, but it's nice to live vicariously sometimes! 

Scott
St. Charles, IL
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 17, 2012, 09:18:33 AM
The forum has a rather sophisticated notification system, that will send you an email to notify you that a new post has been made in anything (board, thread etc) you choose to follow.

To turn this on, simply click the "NOTIFY" button. See the screen shot below (and note that it this instance it says "UNNOTIFY" because I currently follow the RBA board.)

To get RBA notifications sent to you via email, simply go to the RBA board: http://www.ilbirds.com/index.php?board=1.0

...and click the "NOTIFY" button, next to the "new topic" and "new poll" buttons. That's it.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 17, 2012, 10:37:23 AM
Congrats are in order for sure - nice catch Beau and thanks for refinding and confirming the bird, Adam.

Something interesting about this bird is how small the mirrors are. I'd guess this would suggest a subadult bird, any other thoughts? I'm pretty sure Common and Kamchatka can be ruled out.

Ethan

Ethan brings up a good point about the mirrors, especially those on P9. I recently observed (and photographed) several adult Mews with similar sized mirrors on P9 and even an individual with a broken one. So, I don't think the size of the mirrors - alone - are sufficient to dump this bird in the 3rd cycle category. If these mirrors are in any way an age-related yardstick, then this bird is likely a very young adult!

A question to think about, for those seduced by the finer points of ageing their gulls, is, could this still be a 3rd cycle (or adult-type) despite the adult-ish outer primary coverts? I guess what I'm trying to say is, does it get a perfect "10" in the adult category? What troubles me the most is P8 - does anyone have a better shot of this feather, or could yesterday's zealous observers speak about what looks like an absent gray tongue and white tongue tip? This is a distinguishing feature that is shown by Common.

It does appear to have a gray tongue and rather small white tongue-tip:
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Amar Ayyash January 17, 2012, 11:31:08 AM
The amount of black on P8 is something I noticed and stated earlier in this thread. I assume Amar means that the lack of gray tongue and white tongue tip on P8 is suggestive of the nominate subspecies, known in Europe as Common Gull (Larus canus canus).

Somewhat. My concern is more of an ageing issue. This bird looks "perfect" for a Mew Gull including what looks like darker upperparts, shorter bill and the heavily marked head and hindneck (in comparison to Common). What I was getting at is that definitive adult Mews tend to show a cutting gray tongue with a white tip on P8 (this is a rather consistent feature that adds to the so called string of pearls on this species). In my limited experience, 3rd cycle Mews often lack the pattern adults show on P8, hence my curiousity as to whether a 3rd cycle bird is ruled out simply because it has adult-like primary coverts.

Greg, any other shots of the upperwing?

For the sake of not cluttering this thread, I've started a different discussion under "Identification" here:
http://www.ilbirds.com/index.php?topic=49883.msg71090
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Jeff Skrentny January 17, 2012, 03:09:42 PM
I should also start another thread for this comment, but I was very surprised to see Craig and Eric's whinny remarks about the Mew Gull re-sighting not being on IBET.

Gentlemen, respectfully, if you are a serious birder in Illinois, a serious lister, a serious birding hobbyist, IBF is the FIRST place you should  be looking for information about birds, not the second.  I cannot imagine anyone who is serious about our hobby in Illinois looking to IBET first, not anymore.  It is cumbersome, full of frivolous posts (but always welcome, which is wonderful) and a conversation thread is almost impossible to intelligently have (much less re-examine at a later date), not to mention photos can't be shared.

I think both of you are simply showing a reluctance to changing technology, which I appreciate.  But time to get with the program if you ask me. 

Just 'cause you have an archive going back to 2002, doesn't mean all posts need to be on IBET.  And going forward I don't think they all will be.  IBET has and will remain an important place for birders to exchange thoughts.  But if you want to have a serious discussion with other serious hobbyists, IBF is where you need to be.  Times are a changing.  IBET was great at bringing a number of you kicking and screaming into the digital age, or so I have heard.  IBF is building a journal of our birding history that is far more comprehensive and valuable than any IBET archives will ever be, and you need to see that, accept it, and embrace this despite your personal preferences of how you want to archive information for yourself. 

Cloud sourcing is the future.  Craig, eBird supporter you are, you should know this better than most.  Embrace IBF, and learn to check it first, and though I am not predicting IBET will be gone anytime soon, I do think IBF is the place where the serious and vital information about our hobby is shared now because of the far superior formatting and grouping of threads which it allows, not to mention the photos, the search feature, the archive it is creating and the notifications which can be set up.   

So we don't co-opt the Mew Gull thread, feel free to respond to this on it's own thread here:  http://www.ilbirds.com/index.php?topic=49884.0.  Try doing that on IBET!
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 17, 2012, 05:56:26 PM
Any sightings today???
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Joe Lill January 17, 2012, 06:37:54 PM
<<Gentlemen, respectfully, if you are a serious birder in Illinois, a serious lister, a serious birding hobbyist, IBF is the FIRST place you should  be looking for information about birds, not the second.>>

Yes, but for many of us who don't have global internet access (sorry) and who update our email sporadically throughout the day, IBET is our lifeline. Now, I believe Greg has his system set up to do this so I'm fine with what he has in place, but many of us are doing quick checks throughout the day and email is a preferred mode for some. I'm a serious birder, a serious lister, but, in actuality, I'm a serious birding hobbyist. I check IBF when I have time, but email for a quick look before I go back to teaching.
Tonight I'm at home, with time to go through IBF posts. During the day, when I have two minutes to answer calls and check my school and personal email, I don't get to IBF. I'm not alone, and I'm very grateful for both methods of information transmission, but email is quick and to the point.

That being said, great find, Beau!!!
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: beauschaefer January 17, 2012, 07:16:06 PM
Thanks everyone. I appreciate your kind words.
Beau
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: bill rudden January 17, 2012, 08:42:53 PM
Kudos also to Adam for relocating it not once, today, but twice -- once for himself and again for Andy, Greg, and me.  It was last seen at 4:20 p.m. flying out towards the lake.
Absolutely.  Remember this bird was first reported as a possible. (Unusual Sightings)
Beau had all the mixings but the concrete wasn't hard yet.
In Part:
    "I noticed a gull whose head and bill looked ridiculously small. The mantle was noticeably darker than every bird around it, and this bird was definitely smaller than the ring-billed gull it was swimming next to. I immediately thought "Mew Gull" but I had a couple of problems. #1 I saw no scapular crescent, which I know is an important ID point. However, the bird's feathers were slightly fluffed which, I think, may have made the crescent tougher to see. #2 The tertial crescent did not look much larger to me. All other ID points were good for a 2nd winter bird. It had dark coloration on the tip of the bill, heavy dark mottling around the head and neck, and a dark eye. The primary extension was also very long in comparison to the other birds....    I'm not thinking it will hang around till tomorrow, but I will go back anyway, and see if I can find it again. It's either a Mew Gull or a Mew x Ring-billed hybrid of some sort." 
Beau Schaefer

Kudos to the Gyllenhaals and Adam who believed and searched for the gull.
(as did Beau)
What a vote of confidence for Beau.  Great Field Birders All.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Matthew Winks January 18, 2012, 08:35:04 AM
I was wondering in the markings on the underwing coverts would have any indication to the Mew Gull's age. It seems somewhat dirty underneath and looks like there's some streaking on the leading edge of the underwings (patagia). I was thinking a full adult would look cleaner underneath. But I guess I've never really examined Ring-billed Gull underwings very closely.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Robert D. Hughes January 18, 2012, 10:48:52 AM
Has anyone been to look for the bird in the last couple days? I haven't seen any reports since Monday.

Robert D. Hughes
Chicago, Illinois
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Adam Sell January 18, 2012, 11:38:27 AM
I'm hoping to visit this afternoon
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Adam Sell January 18, 2012, 02:14:33 PM
Checked and didn't see the Mew after an hour of searching between 2 and 3.  All of the gulls were either on the lake or in the south harbor where the docks are located.  Bad lighting and distance made it hard to pick through the gulls this afternoon.  Hopefully the bird will make another appearance.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Chris W January 18, 2012, 03:03:15 PM
Well, in accord with the vanishing posts and topics, my long, well thought out post about posting vagrants to IBET has well, just simply vanished. Fantastic.

In any case, the point is, please continue to post sighting updates to IBET, otherwise some of us will never receive them.

Thanks.
--Chris
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Greg Neise January 18, 2012, 03:20:56 PM
Well, in accord with the vanishing posts and topics, my long, well thought out post about posting vagrants to IBET has well, just simply vanished. Fantastic.

In any case, the point is, please continue to post sighting updates to IBET, otherwise some of us will never receive them.

Thanks.
--Chris

I moved it to discussion, which is where it should have been in the first place: http://www.ilbirds.com/index.php?topic=49884.msg71126#msg71126
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 19, 2012, 03:36:40 PM
Checked there today but no gull. The gulls were literally at the WORST possible place and position (one could not see any wingtips on any birds), so I still have some hope.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 21, 2012, 08:33:35 AM
Mew Gull is currently just east of the yacht club building right next to the harbor entrance.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Aaron Gyllenhaal January 21, 2012, 03:38:40 PM
Here are my photos of the Mew Gull from today. It flew farther out fairly quickly so I didn't have much time to get a good shot. When it flew right over my brother, I was in the car defrosting my feet. It left probably 3 minutes before the first people came. I never saw it next to a Ring-Billed, in fact, it was isolated most of the time. Other gulls included

1200+ Herring Gulls
10+ Ring-Billed Gulls (so few!)
7+ Thayer's Gulls (5 Adults, 2 First-Cycles)
3 "Kumlien's" Iceland Gulls (2 Adults, 1 First-Cycle)
1 Glaucous Gull (First Cycle)
1 Lesser Black-Backed Gull (Adult)
1 Great Black-Backed Gull (First-Cycle)
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: bill rudden January 21, 2012, 06:45:47 PM
Well done Aaron.  Congrats you guys earned that one.
: Re: MEW GULL @ North Point Marina (Lake)
: Robert D. Hughes January 26, 2012, 08:09:32 AM
Has anyone been to look for this bird lately? Just wondering.

Robert D. Hughes
Chicago, Illinois