No one is systematically driving away gulls from our beach. You have made these arguments in various other places, and I have found it is difficult to reason with you on this issue. I am a dog owner and birder, I also live in this community and know a bit about the issues going on here. Anti-gull sentiment is not high up there on the list by Half Moon Bay residents. I actually seldom see off leash dogs in that part of the beach. However people scaring the gulls, running through them for photos is the more common issue. I have talked to many people about this on the beach, and explained about the gulls, basically all of them have been understanding. They are largely uninformed. They are often really thrilled to find out more about the gulls, their migration and so forth. Key is conversation and teaching folks.
In any case, apart from being off on your argument here. You are saying something very troubling. You are accusing the folks at State Parks of “systematically driving away gulls” from the beach. This is totally false. When have you seen park staff “systematically driving away gulls?” I don’t know where you get these ideas, but I find it troubling that you are accusing hard working people of doing something that is just not true. Can you stop making these false allegations? Next time you get the inkling of publishing something like this, stop and re-consider?
From: <peninsula-birding...> <peninsula-birding...> On Behalf Of Noah Arthur via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:15 PM
To: Aaron Maizlish <aaron.maizlish...>; <maliadances...>
Subject: Re: [pen-bird] Slaty-backed — Birding ethics suggestion
Watching this situation develop from across the Bay, I would like to make a suggestion/plea to all birders visiting the Slaty-back: For the well-being of the gulls at this beach, please DO NOT ask beachgoers to avoid flushing the gulls. Just let them scare the gulls away, even if an off-leash dog is running through the flock. This sounds counterintuitive, but the State Park Service already considers gulls to be pests, and birders harassing legitimate beachgoers in defense of gulls is yet another reason that the gulls are a nuisance. This could result in the Park Service making more efforts to systematically drive gulls away from the beaches, which would of course be much more harmful to them than the occasional kid or dog running through the flock.
And yes, I know that dogs off leash are illegal on that beach. However, that won’t matter if the Park Service receives a generic complaint about birders from a dog-walker who wants to address the issue but doesn’t admit to letting their dog off-leash.
The slaty back is still here 2:48pm on the beach slope currently. probably can’t be seen from the bluff so best bet is park at dunes beach and get down on beach. It seems to want to rest with head tucked back. However as I write there is an off-leash dog
Fantastic photos Alvaro! Thanks for the ID lesson, as always.
Roy Carlson and I were able to enjoy prolonged views of the gull from up on the trail looking across the creek mouth. No need to head down to the beach. There are about 600-800 birds in the flock, and the Slaty-backed is toward the south end, perhaps 50 birds from the end of the flock. He spent much of the time with his head tucked in and was a bit less excitable than the other, mostly hybrid, gulls. Did not fly in the 40 minutes I observed him, and only stretched his wings twice.
A long overdue lifebird for me. It’s great to see a full adult.
Visible from the Venice Beach parking lot overlook of the mouth of Frenchman’s Creek. There is a big pond at the creek mouth all the way up Pilarcitos Creek, so few people were on the beach as some of the access points are not available. So hopefully it will not get spooked.
It is like a Western Gull, an adult, with pink legs and a dark back. However the back is darker. It has pale eyes with some brown flecks and some crisp streaking on the head, unlike Western. The legs are brighter almost bubblegum pink. The outer primary has an entirely white tip, not just a white mirror. Also there is a mirror on p9, the next primary in from the outermost. On Western, there is one mirror on the outer one and it does not reach to the tip. Inside of this there are white tongue tips, or half moon shaped bits on primaries where the black meets the slaty gray. They form a series of pale “spots” that creep out along the open wing creating what has been termed the “string of pearls.” It has been a while since a classic, adult Slaty-backed Gull has been out on the beach. So it was a nice one to see!