Date: 1/2/21 6:02 pm
From: Barbara Volkle <barb620...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Ivory Gull - Andrews Point, Rockport
An amazing report by Rick Heil from ebird - copied below.

This bird may still be in the area.

If Rick or others have additional details on this sighting, please share!

Thanks for this detailed report, Rick!

Barbara Volkle
Northborough, MA


Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) (1)
- Reported Jan 02, 2021 07:20 by Rick Heil
- Andrews Point, Rockport, Essex, Massachusetts
- Map:<q...>,-70.6204365&<ll...>,-70.6204365
- Checklist:
- Comments: "Amazing!!! During my seawatch today I had a clear adult Ivory Gull passing NW to SE (as virtually all storm birds do here) at about 250-300 yards, just after 0830 hrs., overtaking and passing two kittiwakes, and disappearing around the corner; in view about 10-12 seconds in my scope. Before it went around the corner and out of view I fumbled for my iPhone to attempt a digiscoped shot but failed to get it set up quickly enough. Visibility was fairly decent at the time, as it was about forty minutes prior to the fog moving in.

Description: gleaming pure all bright white medium sized gull, as bright as the white on an adult gannet; clean bright white from head to tail without a mark; It actually immediately recalled a Snow Petrel to me (having seen many on trips to Antarctica); It appeared just slightly larger than the kittiwake in the same scope view, but with a very different shape and flight style.

The bird was heavier-bodied than the kittiwake in the same view, and the wings were much broader based, but angular, appearing fairly long, and very pointed towards the tip; the flight was steady, straight, level, and strong, with rapid wingbeats, no gliding noted; the flight reminded me somewhat of a jaeger, and easily overtook and passed the kittiwakes; the tail was shortish, appeared square, pure white like the rest of the plumage; the feet were not visible.

The bill appeared short; I couldn't perceive any color, but was clearly pale at the tip and darker toward the base; even at several hundred yards I could see the dark eye that stood out on the plain bright white face through the scope.

I have no doubt at all that this was an adult Ivory Gull; a leucistic/albinistic kittiwake can be eliminated by the IVGU's slightly larger size, heavier body, broader wings - especially the inner wing, and different flight style and behavior; a pale 1W or especially 2W (which can be quite white later in winter) Kumlien's/Iceland Gull can be eliminated by this birds clearly smaller size, pure gleaming white plumage, versus the creamier or 'dirty' white plumage of Iceland, and also by the pale tipped, dark-based bill, the obverse of a 2W Iceland Gull.

I've seen several Ivory Gulls over the years, including three in Massachusetts; this is also my second record of Ivory Gull for Andrew's Point in my 46 years of seawatching here; a first-winter bird was present in the area the winter of 1976-77, and I had it pass the point on 8 Jan. 1977 (photographed)."

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