Date: 1/23/19 12:03 pm From: Norman Budnitz (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Jordan Lake gulls--follow-up
The Jordan Lake level this morning was 217.44 feet, so just a foot or so above the main pool level--i.e., normal for this time of year. So, I went out to count the Ring-billed Gulls coming off the lake and heading to the South Wake County Landfill.
At dawn, it was obvious that the number of gulls roosting on the lake was much larger than what I saw on December 30th, the day of the Jordan Lake Christmas Bird Count. However, I could not count them on the water, because the heat shimmer was too intense, and they were too far away from my position on the shore at the Ebenezer Boat Ramp. So I went up to the road just off the Beaver Creek bridge and waited for the gulls to start flying over.
At about 7:00 AM, the onslaught began. Counting by 50s, the easiest number for me to estimate at one time, and using my trusty digital counter, I estimated about 10,000 gulls in all. About 9,000 gulls flew east over the bridge, and another 1,000 or so remained on the lake.
On the Jordan Lake CBC, when the lake level was 16 feet above normal, there were about 2,000 gulls near Ebenezer, about 5,000 further north between Farrington and White Oak Creek, and about 3,000 at Harris Lake. That's a total of 10,000 gulls.
I could only count at Ebenezer this morning, because I could not be in 3 places at once (hmm!), but I wonder if the 10,000 CBC gulls have now coalesced to roost together at Ebenezer as they have in previous years. Perhaps the lake level has something to do with their dispersal in December.
Ten thousand is still a much reduced number from the 30,000 to 45,000 gulls we have counted in previous years.