Hotline Photos

Western Gull

8 Jul 2008
Bear River MBR
Box Elder County

(Email from Matthew Alexander, 9 Jul 2008)

On 8 July 2008 at around 6:30pm, myself (Matthew Alexander) and Jim Pawlicki identified and photographed an adult Western Gull hanging out with about a dozen California Gulls at the Bear River NWR. The bird was near the southwest corner of the square-shaped auto tour. The bird appeared fidgety and flew off towards the south once we approached for better photos. None of the California Gulls flew away at that time. The Western Gull was larger with a darker mantle and pink legs.

(Email from Matthew Alexander, 10 Jul 2008)

...I have attached the photos from Tuesday's (7/8) sighting. Jim also went to the same spot this evening and saw the bird, here is his directions plus some other notable sightings from the refuge 6/7-6/10:

"Went back to the outflow channel late this evening (Thurs., July 10) around 8:30 p.m. and the bird (WEGU) was in the exact same spot amongst a dozen or so California Gulls. Since the bird was skittish last time and ended up taking off, I continued to drive steadily past the spot and get out of the car about 70 yards beyond where the birds were loosely congregated (at parked at the designated parking area--see below). Set-up the scope and had some nice looks as the bird washed its bill in the water, but then only after 5 minutes it got up on its own and flew off low to the ground to the NE where I lost it behind the reed line in the distance. Here are some better directions to the spot from the last e-mail T. Avery forwarded to Utahbirds:

Take West Forest St./Bird Refuge Rd. west from the visitor center until you reach the start of the Auto Tour Route. The quickest way to the spot is to take the route going SSW (or left) insted of the "formal" direction going W (or right) over the small bridges and beyond the large maintenance building. After going left on the route, continue on the road for about 3.5 miles. Just before you reach the observation tower and parking area where the road "T's" and the Auto Tour makes a hard right continuing to the NW, there will be a small outflow channel going underneath the road and connecting to the large channel paralleling the road on its east side. This is basically at the southernmost point of Unit 2 within the refuge for those that have maps. The gulls are congregating at this outflow channel on the west or Unit 2 side of the road. Thus far, evening (after 6:00 p.m.) seems to be the best time of day for seeing the bird, as it was NOT present during the late morning on 7/8 when I went past the spot earlier in the day before finding it later that day around 6:30 p.m.

Other notable sightings from around the refuge have been a singing Grasshopper Sparrow along West Forest St. at the first bend past Whistler Canal on 6/7, a family of 2 ad. and 2 juv. Long-billed Curlews along West Forest St. between "0" Line Canal and Reeder Canal from 6/7 to 6/10, plus a SE Owl seen along WF St. near Unit 4 at dusk today (6/10). Migratory shorebirds seen from the Auto Tour Route over the past couple days have included 150+ Marbled Godwits, about a dozen LB Dowitchers, 10+ Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Baird's Sandpiper, and 6 Least Sandpipers...


Hope this is beneficial,

               Photos by Jim Pawlicki


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