Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Visitor From The North

This is an Ivory Gull. Usually they spend their time soaring over the Arctic ice.

This one, sporting the distinctive black spots of its juvenile plumage, decided that the warmer climes of Cape May, New Jersey were more to it's liking. (The adults are all white.)

"You looking at me?" Yes, yes I was. And so have a lot of other birders. You see, having an Ivory Gull anywhere in NJ is a rather rare event. The last one to visit did so in 1986. And this is only the fifth visit on record.

Now as you might imagine, not many people go birding in the Arctic. So it in nice when the birds visit us instead. And this was no doubt the easiest rare bird I've seen. I drove down to the marina where it is staying, got out of my car, and my friend Pat said, "Hi Steve, the gull is over there."

And then it flew in close, to feast on a fish carcass (seen in the second image above). And it paid no mind to the twenty or so photographers snapping away. And as one of them noted, it isn't often that you can walk around a bird to get the best light. But that's exactly what we did.

Very cool.


LauraHinNJ said...

Glad it was so cooperative!

Laura (estimating the travel time to Cape May)


Lené Gary said...

Very cool! :)

Chesney said...

Oh Steve, this guy is beautiful - love the flying shot! Very cool!