Date: 8/24/19 6:09 pm
From: bruce young (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: exciting gull at Falls Lake
Jelmer Poelstra reported a juvenile Black-legged Kittwake around 5:00 and I got there a little after 6 right about the time he postulated it might just be a Ross's Gull (!!!). At that point he was at Sandling beach and I was at Rolling View. Brian Bockhahn joined me maybe 30 minutes later. I had one sustained 4-5 minute view and a couple of shorter ones in my scope of the flying bird. It was never exactly close and I was near top power on my scope (60x) for most of it and the birds did not stop at any time. It was a gray day with night coming on.I believe it was a Kittiwake.It was flying mostly with a group of Caspian Terns. It was noticeably smaller and more compact than them. There were a couple of Common and at least 1 Black Tern around but I never got a good size comparison with them. The most noticeable plumage feature was the broad black M across the wings comprising the front of the wings to the outer primary tips then back to the base of the wings through the coverts. The M was not neat more messy and broad. Other than the outer primaries the rest of the flight feathers were pale. Mantle was light gray. Underwings paleThe tail was square with a black band going clear across the tail from side to side. There was a small black ear patch and a larger black area on the side of the neck which may have met as a collar in back but couldn't really tell. Other than Ross's, Little and Sabines were also mooted. Sabines is out with the pale mantle and full black M. I believe Ross's is out based on the tail shape, the black bar going all the way across the tail and the black collar. Little Gull is tougher. There was a lot of black on the top of the wing but I didn't see a black patch at the base of the secondaries or a black cap and I did see the black collar especially on the sides of the neck. Plus I don't think it was quite that small. Bruce <Youngbyoung715...>, NC
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