Arctic Tern in Sheboygan Wisconsin on June 15, 2018

After returning home from birding some of the lakefront in Milwaukee in the morning I realized my birding was not finished for the day. I saw the rare bird report of an Arctic Tern found by Amy K up at Sheboygan. I needed this bird for my Wisconsin state life list so I decided to make the run up around 12:30 pm. My last try for this species was back on May 21, 2016 when there was one present at the time of seeing the famous White-winged Tern in Manitowoc, but I missed that bird by a day. I got a hold of Amy and she told me exactly where she saw the Arctic Tern and from where. I picked up Bruce on the way up as he had an interest in seeing this bird. We arrived around 2:00 pm and went to the hot spot, the Blue Harbor Pier. We could see very many gulls and some terns from the pier on the rocks in the harbor, but unfortunately it was too far to get an ID. We tried by the sailing club and met Barry B there, but could not ID the Arctic Tern 100% from there with the distance. None of us brought a scope! We knew our only hope was to wait for a birder with a scope to show up. Along came Davor G with his scope. We headed back over to the pier and with in a minute or two Davor had the tern in his scope. The bird was about 1/4 mile away from us so images are not much, just a couple of doc shots. Big thank you to Amy K for finding the rare bird and getting the word out to others, and Davor for nailing this bird in his scope. There was a lot of excitement had with all of us and a few birders that showed up after the big find. A mostly sunny period when I was there, stiff breeze off the lake where, felt very cool and it made me have to have two light coats on. Images were taken on June 15, 2018.

Arctic Tern surrounded by Common Terns…bird is a couple inches above the round hole in the rock…image taken at about 1/4 mile from tern..

Red arrow to see the tern location…just above the round hole in the rock…

Arctic Tern

Binomial name: Sterna paradisaea

Category: Gulls, Tern, and Skimmers

Size: 12” long, 31” wing span

Weight: 3.9 oz

Note: Breeding grounds for this species is the High Arctic and wintering is in the Antarctic, migrating across the oceans each year, what a distance!

Preening…

Head turned in as it was preening…

A Laughing Gull was also present giving nice views at a distance from the Sailing Club…

Caspian Terns at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 18, 2018

Birding along the Milwaukee lakefront I found my first Caspian Terns of the year. From the parking lot I saw 3 on the beach nearby a flock of Ring-billed Gulls. When I got on the beach area, 1 lone tern was present as pedestrians were in the area and must have flushed the other 2 birds. The bird took to the sky twice as I stood at a distance and observed. Only new birds for the year I saw today. A cloudy day, still cold around 30 degrees with the wind out of the north with more snow expected. Images were taken on April 18, 2018.

Caspian Tern

In flight…

Bonaparte’s Gulls at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 16, 2018

Stopping at McKinley Beach this morning gave nice views of Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in the wave action hitting the shore. We see them for a very short time in spring in migration so I tried to capture some of what they do while they make brief stops in the area heading north. It was a light snow flurry day with cool temps and still winter coat weather even though it is mid April with good snow on the ground. Images were taken on April 16, 2018

Bonaparte’s Gulls lined up along the wave action on the shoreline finding things to eat…

Something to eat in the bill….

Watching and waiting for the next piece of food….

Just waiting for the sight of food…

Feeding on the wave…

It’s a matter of survival, in search of food, it’s all eyes…

Looking and waiting for food…has something on the left…

One on the left has something…

On shore, did some preening….

Something in the bill…

Trying to balance here…

Just flew in…

It is all about getting something to eat…

Just flew in…

Got something to eat here..

Reaching for something….

Laughing Gull at the Port Washington Harbor in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on February 28, 2018

I made a run up to Port Washington in Ozaukee County early this morning in hopes to see the Laughing Gull that was reported yesterday. Upon arriving at 7:00 am, I could see the adult Laughing Gull after making about 10 steps away from the car.  Wow, what a stunning gull! This gull is rare here as it is a East Coast bird that. The gull was located at the rough beach-sandy shore on the north end of the marina. The bird pretty much ate most of the time I observed it, on and off during a 3 hour stay, I traveled to Coal Dock Park for awhile and then returned. Ring-billed Gulls gave it a hard time on and off with a little chasing. The harbor was full of gulls everywhere you looked. Hopefully more rare birds will be found at this location as it has been really great most of the winter. Birders I have not seen for awhile showed for this gull, Daryl T, Tom W, Ted K and John M. We all had a fun time enjoying the great show the gull put on and talking bird stories too. A big thank you to Barry Baumann for finding this bird yesterday and getting the word out for others to see it. This was not a life bird as I saw one at Coal Dock Park back in June of 2014. It was a beautiful morning with mild temps, low winds, and mostly sunny skies. Images were taken on February 28, 2018.

Laughing Gull, wet head just after some bathing…

Laughing Gull

Binomial name: Larus Atricilla

Category: Gulls,Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 16.5” long, 40” wing span

Weight: 11 Oz

Cool Fact: Normal range for this gull is the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of the United States.

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area…

Laughing Gull, went from fish to fish eating inside parts of the fish…

Laughing Gull, went from fish to fish eating inside parts of the fish…

Laughing Gull, went from fish to fish eating inside parts of the fish…

Laughing Gull, went from fish to fish eating inside parts of the fish…

Laughing Gull, went from fish to fish eating inside parts of the fish…

Laughing Gull, wet head, series of the gull bathing…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Bathing…

Preening…

Typically setting today for the Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gulls everywhere!

Ring-billed Gull charging the Laughing Gull some, this happened frequently…

More feeding…this was on going…

Feeding…

Ring-billed Gull with a fish…

Ring-billed Gull with a fish…

Ring-billed Gull with a fish…..it was all fish eaters there today!

 

 

 

Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Johnson Creek in Jefferson County Wisconsin on January 18, 2018

I went out to Johnson Creek, just north of the Kohl’s store out lots to check out a few gulls. Lots of gulls present, could have been ~300. Two gulls I could ID were the Glaucous Gull and a Lesser Black-blacked Gull. The Glaucous Gull, what I think is a 1st cycle, I only saw for a short time. It had a piece of what looked like meat from the landfill across the highway. A couple other Herring Gulls were close by wanting a piece of that meat. After some interaction, the Glaucous Gull took to the sky with the meat and that was the last I saw of it. The Lesser Black-backed Gull just sat or stood at a distance, stayed by it self. It was a bright sunny day with temps getting near 30 degrees, it felt good to see a warm up coming. Fun to watch a little gull action for a change. Images were taken on January 18, 2018.

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle with a piece of meat in the snow in front of it with Herring Gulls around…

Glaucous Gull checking out the meat…

Glaucous Gull taking a look around…

Glaucous Gull, going to get out of here with this prize…

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull, going to the sky, the last I saw of this bird …

Lesser Black-backed Gull, adult

Lesser Black-backed Gull, adult

Lesser Black-backed Gull, adult

Lesser Black-backed Gull, adult

Franklin’s Gull at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on October 8, 2017

I made a stop at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee for a first stop checking the beach area this morning. The beach was quiet. I ran into Dave G there and I said I was heading to McKinley Beach, he said he was there earlier this morning and it was empty. Since I was at the lakefront I made the drive over and within a flock of about 25 Ring-billed Gulls I saw a gull with a light black head. I knew this was going to be something good and it was, a Franklin’s Gull, juvenile (1st cycle). Dave followed me over he also got few shots off before the gull took to the air and headed south for what appeared to be no apparent reason. The gull was just preening so it makes sense what the gull had in mind I think. It was a short lived burst of excitement in the birding world as we just don’t see Franklin’s along the lake very often. The highlight of the day with not much else to report along the north side of Milwaukee’s lakefront. It was a gorgeous day with full sun, mild temps and very little wind. Images were taken on October 8, 2017.

Franklin’s Gull

Binomial name: Larus pipixcan

Category: Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Size: 14.5” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 10 oz

Stretching before the flight…

Some preening…

Franklin’s Gull, left – Ring-billed Gull, right

The back view..

The Bonaparte’s Gull in migration at Grant Park on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on May 1, 2017

I hit Grant Park this morning with hopes to see some shorebirds. There were no shorebirds present but the Bonaparte’s Gull numbers were very impressive way out on the water. Only one time did one land on the beach when I was there. For the most part they were either moving north, sometimes south, and sometimes they would land for resting and feeding. Literally 1,000’s and 1,000’s of them what a treat to see! It would have been nice to have a different lens for this type of photography to get a better picture of the mass of gulls there were as it went as far as I could see north and south on the lake. It was a pleasant morning for a few hours but rain is on it’s way again. Images were taken on May 1, 2017.

One on the beach was it…

Some gulls were flying, some feeding and some resting…

Note the line of gulls on the horizon went on for as far as you could see in both directions

2-Bonaparte’s Gulls, adult in breeding plumage, 1 – 1st winter, correct me if I’m wrong.

Slaty-backed Gull at Northridge Lakes in Milwaukee Wisconsin on February 13, 2017

I had been birding the lakefront in Milwaukee when I got a call from Mike W, thanks Mike. He stated Tom W had found a Slaty-backed Gull at Northridge Lakes. With a quick ride over there, and some birders having it in their scopes it put a spike in what looked like might be a quiet day birding. The bird stayed in one spot the whole time I was there of about 30 minutes. It stood and rested while I was there along with the preening. It raised its wings once and I capture a couple of shots of what is known as the ‘string of pearls’,  spots on the outer primaries. Other birds to note, it was said that there were 2 Glaucous Gulls, 1-adult, 1-immature and 4 Kumlien’s, 3-adults, 1-juvenile, I did not see all of them. A big thank you to Tom W for finding this nice bird and getting the word out for others to see. A mild day with temps around 40 with full sun, light breeze made for a pleasant morning out. Images were taken on February 13, 2017.

Slaty-backed Gull, with the wing up you can see the 'sting of pearls'

Slaty-backed Gull, with the wing up you can see the ‘string of pearls’ on the primaries

Slaty-backed Gull

Binomial name: Larus schistisagus

Category: Gulls, Tern. and Skimmers

Size: 25” long, 58” wing span

Weight: 3.0 lb

Note: An Asian gull that is considered a rare breeder on the west coast of Alaska and is a very rare visitor to North America.

Standing in the middle

Standing in the middle

The way it was...

The way it was…

Going down to rest

Going down to rest

Resting

Resting

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Doing a stretch

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Just another shot

Just another shot

Glaucous Gulls at Johnson Creek in Jefferson County Wisconsin on February 3, 2017

I have not been out to Johnson Creek in Jefferson County lately so I gave it a try mid morning. There were a lot of gulls over the dump but only a couple hundred loafed at the Kohl’s outlot south of I94. It was nice to see 2 Glaucous Gulls in the small group there. There was 1- 1st cycle and 1- adult present. They took flight a few times as there must have been something in the area that spooked them. A very cold day with some wind but the sun made it feel not too bad. Images were taken on February 3, 2017.

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull

Binomial name: Larus hyperboreus

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 27” long, 60” wing span

Weight: 3.1 lb

Habitat: This large gulls breeding grounds are in the northern arctic. It spends its winters farther north than most gulls on coasts, lakes, urban areas, dumps and agricultural fields. Mostly breeds along shorelines of the seacoast, rivers and lakes, also refuse dumps. These gulls are usually not found inland.

Diet: It captures prey such as plovers, small ducks, ptarmigans, auks, birds, small mammals and invertebrates. It also scavenges dead fish, carrion, garbage and dead animal matter.

Nesting: The nest is a shallow bowl constructed of twigs, grasses, sedges, moss and sometimes feathers. The nest is located on cliff edges, grass slopes above cliffs, islands or ponds on the tundra. 3 eggs are usually laid brown in color with dark brown spots.

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle in the middle, it just landed

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle loafing

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle loafing

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult loafing

Glaucous Gull, adult loafing

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, adult

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 27, 2016

I started birding the lakefront in Milwaukee mid morning and my first stop moving south was the Petroleum Pier. Lots of ducks but nothing odd. I ran into Jym M there and he said he just saw a Kumlien’s Iceland Gull at South Shore Yacht Club. After hitting a few more places I stopped at the SSYC and the Kumlien’s Iceland was still present but out a ways by itself. After awhile it came in closer and gave some nice views. After a dog walker flushed everything away I left. Other birds to note there, 6 Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shoveler, Common Goldeneyes and many Greater Scaup. This is the 3rd year in a row a Kumlien’s Iceland Gull has been at the club in winter. A beautiful bird! I walked from McKinley Marina to Lakeshore State Park and it was 1,000 plus ducks that were mainly Greater Scaup and Common Goldeneyes. Images were taken on December 27, 2016.

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Kumlien’s Iceland Gull

Binomial name: Larus glaucoides

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 22” long, 54” wing span

Weight: 1.8 lb

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Eating mussels

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Eating mussels

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Eating mussels

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Kumlien’s Iceland Gull at South Shore Yacht Club 2015-2016 winter images link:

http://www.windowtowildlife.com/kumliens-iceland-gull-at-the-shore-yacht-club-in-milwaukee-wisconsin-on-december-15-2015/

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull at South Shore Yacht Club 2014-2015 winter images link:

http://www.windowtowildlife.com/kumliens-iceland-gull-great-black-backed-gulls-south-shore-yacht-club-milwaukee-wisconsin-february-8-2015/

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Ring-necked Duck, male

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler – female

Common Goldeneye, male

Common Goldeneye, male

Black-legged Kittiwake at the mouth of the Fox River in Green Bay Wisconsin on December 12, 2016

I made the run up to Green Bay early morning to see if the juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake was still present. It was at light broke in the bay area. The bird circled around the east side of the river opening near the old pier walk structure. Typically what I noticed this morning was after a few circles around, it sat out in the water farther out by itself. It did that for 15-20 minutes then did some more hunting and feeding around the structure. For almost an hour it was no where to be seen. As it got towards 10 am I watched it fly way out and landed in with a couple hundred Ring-billed Gulls on a sheet of ice. That is  probably where it was earlier when it was not around as I thought I saw it a few feet off the ice with those gulls but it was very far out confirm. A fun but cold morning, stiff wind made it feel like January. The sun shinned for only for a minute or two. Very cool life bird that I can finally add to my life list. The normal range for this bird is breeding in the arctic on the coasts and winters on the eastern and western US coasts. A big thank you to Willson Gaul for finding this exciting bird and getting the word out to the birding community. Images were taken on December 12, 2016.

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Black-legged Kittiwake

Binomial name: Rissa tridactyla

Category: Gulls, Tern, and Skimmers

Size: 17” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 14 oz

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Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

A quick dip in the water

A quick dip in the water

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Takeoff

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Franklin’s Gulls at North Point in Sheboygan Wisconsin on May 31, 2016

I decided to make a run up to North Point in Sheboygan this morning. At least 7 Franklin’s Gulls were the highlight. It was constant birds coming and going there which always makes it exciting as to what might show up there. Franklin’s Gulls, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Ring-billed along with some Common Terns were the main species present. It was very cold when I got there and once the sun finally showed it made things just better. Images were taken on May 31, 2016.

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Franklin’s Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Binomial name: Larus pipixcan

Category: Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Size: 14.5” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 10 oz

Franklin's Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Franklin's Gulls

Franklin’s Gulls

5 Franklin's Gulls

5 Franklin’s Gulls

Franklin's Gulls

Franklin’s Gulls

Franklin's Gull with fish and Bonaparte's Gull front

Franklin’s Gull with fish and Bonaparte’s Gull front

Franklin's Gull finding food

Franklin’s Gull finding food

Franklin's Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Franklin's Gull with fish

Franklin’s Gull with fish

Franklin's Gull with Ring-billed Gull, size comparison image

Franklin’s Gull with Ring-billed Gull, size comparison image

Franklin's Gulls

Franklin’s Gulls

Franklin's Gulls, 3 preening

Franklin’s Gulls, 3 preening

Franklin's Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Franklin's Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Franklin's Gull preening

Franklin’s Gull preening

Franklin's Gull eating bugs off a stick

Franklin’s Gull eating bugs off a stick

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

 

White-winged Tern at the Manitowoc Impoundment in Manitowoc Wisconsin on May 21, 2016

I saw the report of the rare White-winged Tern at the Manitowoc Impoundment in the later afternoon. I had to make the run and try to see the extremely rare bird for the state. It was said today that this is the 2nd state record for this bird in Wisconsin and the previous record goes back to 1873. The normal range for this bird is throughout Eurasia. The White-winged Gull, was formally known as White-winged Black Tern. How nice to have this visitor stop in Wisconsin. When I arrived I just looked for the crowd out on a pier, that was the place I had to go to. The bird was present when I arrived and took to flight a few times. The Bonaparte’s Gulls present did not seem to like having it around. Lots of Terns and Gulls were present, with numbers well into the 100’s maybe a 1,000. A couple of Little Gulls were also present. Thanks to Charles S and Jeff H for finding this bird, id-ing the bird, and Tom S for getting the word out to others. It just might be a once in a life time to see this bird here in Wisconsin. It was a fun time with birding friends and meeting some new on a beautiful late May evening. These are distant images but the bird was always a long ways off. Images were taken on May 21, 2016.

White-winged Tern

White-winged Tern

White-winged Tern

Binomial name: Chlidonias leucopterus

Category: Gulls, Tern, and Skimmers

Size: 9.5” long, 23” wing span

Weight: 2.2 oz

Bonaparte's Gull with the White-winged Tern

Bonaparte’s Gull with the White-winged Tern, in front

White-winged Tern, in the middle with Caspian Terns

White-winged Tern, in the middle with Caspian Terns

Bonaparte's Gulls with the White-winged Tern (in front)

Bonaparte’s Gulls with the White-winged Tern, in front

White-winged Tern

White-winged Tern

White-winged Tern

White-winged Tern

Bonaparte's Gull with the White-winged Tern, in front

Bonaparte’s Gull with the White-winged Tern, in front

White-winged Tern with a Bonaparte's Gull

White-winged Tern with a Bonaparte’s Gull

White-winged Tern on the shore

White-winged Tern on the shore

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White-winged Tern, in the middle just after takeoff from the shore

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Little Gull

Little Gull

Little Gull

Little Gull

Caspian Terns and Bonaparte’s Gulls at Grant Park in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 14, 2016

One of my birding stops today was Grant Park in Milwaukee County. One of the highlights was a steady stream of Bonaparte’s Gulls heading south. Another highlight was a small flock of Caspian Terns on the beach. The first ones of the year are always so cool to see. The Caspian Terns were hanging out with Ring-billed Gulls and a couple of Bonaparte’s Gulls on the beach until some beach folks came along and then the terns flew south. Also flying by were a couple good size flocks of first of the year Double-crested Cormorants. A fun day out with lots of new birds for the year! Images were taken on April 14, 2016.

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Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern, I see a band on this one…..I’ll have to look into that.

Caspian Terns

Caspian Terns

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern

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Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern hanging out with Ring-billed Gulls and Bonaparte's Gulls

Caspian Terns hanging out with Ring-billed Gulls and a Bonaparte’s Gull

Caspian Terns

Caspian Terns

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull, not sure what this was, was it picking off a bug?

Bonaparte’s Gull, not sure what this was, was it picking off a bug?

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Bonaparte's Gull incoming

Bonaparte’s Gulls all heading south today!

Bonaparte's Gull hanging out in the water

Bonaparte’s Gull hanging out in the water

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Double-crested Cormorants

Double-crested Cormorants

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

 

Glaucous Gull Juvenile and other gulls on Milwaukee’s Lakefront in Milwaukee Wisconsin on February 24, 2016

I birded the Milwaukee Lakefront this morning and the highlight was gulls. 1 Gluacous Gull juvenile at Bradford Beach. Other gulls were a Glaucous Gull adult and 2 Great Black-blacked Gulls adults near the petroleum pier on broken ice or on the pier itself. It was a cloudy day with stiff winds making it feel like a cold January day. Images were taken on February 24, 2016.

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Glaucous Gull juvenile at Bradford Beach

Glaucous Gull

Binomial name: Larus hyperboreus

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 27” long, 60” wing span

Weight: 3.1 lb

Habitat: This large gulls breeding grounds are in the northern arctic. It spends its winters farther north than most gulls on coasts, lakes, urban areas, dumps and agricultural fields. Mostly breeds along shorelines of the seacoast, rivers and lakes, also refuse dumps. These gulls are usually not found inland.

Diet: It captures prey such as plovers, small ducks, ptarmigans, auks, birds, small mammals and invertebrates. It also scavenges dead fish, carrion, garbage and dead animal matter.

Nesting: The nest is a shallow bowl constructed of twigs, grasses, sedges, moss and sometimes feathers. The nest is located on cliff edges, grass slopes above cliffs, islands or ponds on the tundra. 3 eggs are usually laid brown in color with dark brown spots.

Glaucous Gull adult near the Petroleum Pier

Glaucous Gull adult near the Petroleum Pier

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Glaucous Gull juvenile, left and Herring Gull right

Glaucous Gull Juvenile with Herring Gull right

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Trying to keep its balance with the high winds!

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Trying to keep its balance with the high winds!

Glaucous Gull adult at Bradford Beach the next day 2/26/2016

Glaucous Gull adult at Bradford Beach 2/26/2016

Glaucous Gull adult at Bradford Beach the next day 2/26/2016

Glaucous Gull adult at Bradford Beach on 2/26/2016

Great Black-backed Gull 2nd Cycle at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 16, 2016

The highlight this morning while birding some of Milwaukee’s lakefront was a Great Black-backed Gull 2nd cycle. A Great Black-backed adult was also in the area but remained far off shore just hanging out by itself. Images were taken on January 16, 2016 on a very cold, sunny morning with a steady breeze.

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Hanging out with a Ring-billed left

Hanging out with a Herring Gull left

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Landing gear coming down!

Landing gear coming down!

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Herring Gull right

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Ring-billed Gulls

Ring-billed Gulls

Slaty-backed Gull at the Johnson Creek Landfill in Jefferson County Wisconsin on January 7, 2016

I went out this morning to the Johnson Creek Landfill in hopes to see the Slaty-backed Gull that was reported by Tom W yesterday, nice find Tom and thanks for getting the word out! The exact location is a frozen pond on Waldmann Lane just west of the landfill. I had not been out there for about 3 weeks so I was due. I arrived around 9 am and looked the gulls over well on the ice. About an hour later Ted K showed up and we continued to look through all the gulls coming and going. After a while I spotted what I thought was the Slaty-backed Gull and we looked it over well, that it was. After about 30 minutes it took to the air and towards the landfill area. The images are rough, distant shots, this bird was at least 3/4 of the way across to frozen pond. Images show the “string of pearls” on the wings. Not a life bird as I got the one that was here on December 22, 2012. I fun couple of hours on a gloomy day. Other gulls to note that were present (3) Lesser Black-backed Gull and (2) Glaucous Gulls. Images were taken on January 7, 2016.

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Slaty-backed Gull

Binomial name: Larus schistisagus

Category: Gulls, Tern. and Skimmers

Size: 25” long, 58” wing span

Weight: 3.0 lb

Note: An Asian gull that is considered a rare breeder on the west coast of Alaska and is a very rare visitor to North America.

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Gyrfalcon in Superior Wisconsin and the Ivory Gull in Duluth Minnesota on January 2, 2016

I made the run up to Superior Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota along with Jenny, Rita and John. We arrived a few minutes before sun up. The 2 target birds for us for the day were the rare Gyrfalcon (currently in WI) and the very rare visiting Ivory Gull (currently in MN). It was an exciting day watching both species in action. The Gyrfalcon chased and Common Raven, then the Common Raven appeared to chase the Gyrfalcon. What a show it was! The Ivory Gull was there at sun up with many spectators, ate and on occasion, flew at some high speeds with Herring Gulls. Life birds for all of us on a cold morning and full sun, with low winds. A fun trip for the 4 of us and with friends and birders from around the state. Images were taken on January 2, 2016.

Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven?

Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven, images taken at about 1/4 mile from birds

Gyrfalcon

Binomial name: Falco rusticolus

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 22” long, 47” wing span

Weight: 3.1 lb

Notes: Breeds in the Arctic, wintering in northern Canada south to the northern US.

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Binomial name: Pagophila eburnea

Category: Gulls

Size: 17” long, 37” wing span

Weight: 1.4 lb

Notes: Typically spends it’s life in the high Arctic. The Ivory Gull nests are sometimes eaten by caribou.

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Gyrfalcon in pursuit of the Common Raven

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Common Raven chasing the Gyrfalcon

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Common Raven chasing the Gyrfalcon

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Gyrfalcon, the chase ends!

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Gyrfalcon cruising near a build roof top from a 1/4 mile away

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Gyrfalcon

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

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Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

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Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull with Herring Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

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Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull at the Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 15, 2015

I birded some of the lakefront mid morning today in Milwaukee. My last stop was going to be South Shore Yacht Club. Only a few blocks away from there, I got a text from Jen A telling me of a beautiful Kumlein’s Iceland Gull was present on the docks. Thanks Jen! This gull may have 1st been found by John M early morning, nice find John! I stopped and we both got some nice views of this bird flying and watched it hanging out with some Ring-billed Gulls. I think this gull would be considered a 2nd winter gull.  Also present was a Peregrine Falcon, but it was out far on a dock and only gave back views. I left for awhile and checked out the Petroleum Pier which had pretty much the same ducks that I have been seeing for the last 2 weeks. Lakeshore State Park still had the female Long-tailed Duck along with the ducks that it had been hanging with. Not much else to report. A fun hour or so out, always a treat to see a different gull on the lakefront! Images were taken on December 15, 2015.

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Kumlien’s Iceland Gull

Binomial name: Larus glaucoides

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Size: 22” long, 54” wing span

Weight: 1.8 lb

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Kumlien's Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

Kumlien's Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

Kumlien's Iceland Gullhanging out with Ring-billed Gulls, 6th from the left

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull hanging out with Ring-billed Gulls, 6th from the left

Kumlien's Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gulls, 3 right

Kumlien’s Iceland Gull left, Ring-billed Gulls, 5 right

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Take-off!

Take-off!

Take-off!

Take-off!

Great Black-backed Gulls at Bradford Beach on December 4, 2015

One of the birding moments today was watching a couple of adult Great Black-backed Gulls at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee. One of the birds was shy and only came in once, and a walker flushed it. The other had only one thing on it’s mind, eating, and that was part of a dead fish at waters edge. A couple of days ago, I could not even get on the beach, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls were present that day and when I set foot on the beach they headed out on to the water. Today, this food was a factor, I was within 100 feet of many gulls as were walkers and the one Great Black-backed Gull with in them never moved, it worked on the fish, but it did keep an eye on me the whole time too. Had a little confrontation with a couple of Herring Gulls but overall not much trouble. The Herring and Ring-billed Gulls that were around  pretty much kept their distance and respected this gulls space. I noticed this gull took the dead fish and dragged it into the water numerous times and out, it appeared it was washing the dead fish as it ate it. One time it looked like it was going to cover the dead fish up with bills full of algae but that process did not go far. At the end, the Great Black-backed Gull had appeared to have filled up and took to the air, then sitting far out on the lake bathing. A couple of Herring Gulls took over the piece of fish. The only other highlight today was seeing 2 Hermit Thrushes at Grant Park in Milwaukee below a bluff. Other than that a slow day birding where I was, few ducks out on the lake for this time of year. Beautiful day out with mild temps and sun, low winds. Images were taken on December 4, 2015.

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Great Black-backed Gull

Binomial name: Larus marinus

Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Description: The largest member of the gull family.  White feathers with grayish-black backs and wings.  The wings have white wingtips.  Pink legs, strong yellow or pinkish-yellow bill.

Size: 25” – 31” long, 4’ 10” – 5’ 7” wingspan

Weight: 1.7 lbs. – 5.1 lbs.

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Getting the dead fish back out of the water

The Great Black-backed Gull retrieves the dead fish it just put in the water, evidently for washing

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A Herring Gull watching, would love to get some of that fish!

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A Herring Gull watching, would love to get some of that fish!

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Taking a drink

Taking a drink

Taking a drink

Taking a drink

Taking a drink

Taking a drink

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Dragging it back out of the water after possible washing

Got flushed by a jogger but is coming back in

Got flushed by a jogger but is coming back in

Not wasting any time getting back to that fish!

Not wasting any time getting back to that fish with a Herring Gull on the left.

A little confrontation

A little confrontation

A little confrontation

A little confrontation

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A little confrontation

A little confrontation

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Herring Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

Herring Gull left, Ring-billed Gull right

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Gull is full, time to get out on the lake!

Gull is full, time to get out on the lake!

Gull is full, time to get out on the lake!

Gull is full, time to get out on the lake!

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Wings down!

Wings down!