A white gull was reported from Mayport Boat Ramp a day or two ago, and was not accompanied by a photo. A resident “bird guide” (that actually charges people money to see/find birds) chased it and photographed it yesterday morning…and also reported it as an Iceland Gull. That caused a flurry of others to chase it as well, including a couple of self-professed “experienced birders” (the same people that love to argue with me on reports and identification challenges, and never admit a mistake). Well, they reported it also as an Iceland and actually paraphrased field guides as to why this was an Iceland Gull and not a Glaucous Gull (which it is also not; this is a Laughing Gull). Was anyone actually looking at this bird, or just in a hurry to check it off their year or life list? The closest it comes to an Iceland Gull is that it’s white. It resembles an Iceland in almost no other way, most notably the diminutive size and the shape of the bill.
I have to admit that I took a little pleasure in pointing out a mistake like this to a couple of people that are so rude, belligerent, and insistent on their reported birds. Just goes to show you that we all make mistakes, fall into “group think”, rely on others to ID a bird, and blow a call even when the bird is right in front of you and is well photographed. I’ll still give the benefit of the doubt I suppose, as it might be difficult when you’re looking at a life bird and you have no experience with a species. I’ve seen enough Icelands over the years (12 in Duval County alone) to know the size immediately discards this particular bird from the deck. Yes..it’s a cool bird nonetheless, and I took the ferry over today to see it.
Other than that, I haven’t been out in the woods this fall migration for the first time in forever. Work and school are kicking my tail, but I’m in the midst of finishing my Master’s thesis. Two more months and I’ll be done with school forever and can get back to birding. I’ll leave you with this Yellow Warbler from my backyard this morning.