Saturday, January 7, 2012

Black-tailed Gull in Ohio

Back on November 16th last year, while backpacking somewhere in Tanzania, I remember checking my phone and learning that a Black-tailed Gull was discovered in Ashtabula, Ohio – a first state record and 20th species of gull for Ohio (if accepted). Being 8,000 miles away, I had to accept that fact that I’m just not going to get that bird. OK, not just ‘that bird’, but an ABA Code-4 vagrant from East Asia! Fast-forward to today, the gull remains after nearly two months! Incredible and probably one of, if not the longest, staying Black-tailed Gull in North American history. It will be interesting to see just how long it decides to stick around.

Obviously this is a state bird, well ABA bird, ok a lifer to be exact so I was pleased to return to Ohio a few days ago and see that the gull was still being regularly reported. This morning, Ryan Steiner and I ventured up there and after two hours, the gull was found. What a great bird to return to Ohio for!

Showing obvious black sub-terminal tail band (c) Chris West
BTGU resting (c) Chris West
 Jen Brumfield has been tracking its sightings, movements, habits etc on her website at ( so be sure to check it out for up to date information and maps if you’re heading that way.

What will be next?

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