Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mission accomplished! The white-headed Black-headed Gull

My plan for Maryland chasing was to grocery shop, etc. this morning and chase my two targets (Black-headed Gull and Black-headed Grosbeak) this afternoon and tomorrow morning.  I arrived at the Best Buy Parking Lot of Hunt Valley MD at about 12:30 this afternoon.  There were two wonderful birders (Russ Ruffing and Steve Collins) there both trying for the bird.  In fact, Russ is who first found the gull!  Steve was visiting the area from Texas and the Black-headed Gull would be both a new "Maryland bird" for him as well as a year bird.  Steve has a very impressive year list (I believe it's 487, please forgive me if I'm wrong).  1:00 came and went.  1:30 did too.  Steve had recently been at Paper Mill Flats where the BH Gull often hangs out but he decided to run over there again, just in case it was there while my mom and I kept watch at Best Buy.  Just minutes after he left I spotted a small group of Ring-bills coming in and sure enough, a much smaller gull with a black-patch on the face was traveling with them!  When it got close enough I could see the red beak and legs.  I called Steve (Russ had already left) and he came back.  Unfortunately the gull had already left when Steve returned.  Very fortunately Steve picked back up on it flying a little distance away and it came in and circled overhead for a brief moment.  A lifer for me and number 430 for my Junior Big Year!  Mission accomplished.  That white-headed Black-headed Gull was the reason we came to Maryland in the first place.

But we had more missions.  Another "Black-headed" bird, this one a grosbeak had been discovered in Maryland, only about 2 hours away in the town of Denton.  We left Best Buy headed toward Denton.  By the time we arrived in Denton, it was all too dark to search for the grosbeak so we continued on to the Super 8 of Harrington Delaware where I am now.  We'll spend the night here and are right in position to chase the grosbeak tomorrow and then drive home.

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