IVORY GULL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This bird deserves it’s own post.

An absolute stunner-it put on a show for all that came out to see it. An amazing bird!!!

This is the full story of how this bird was added to my life list. From beginning to end.

Friday (11/27) I was at the hospital for a visit. I was spending a couple hours there. The night before, I had scheduled a hotel in anticipation for my weekend trip with my grandfather to Maine. However, as I sat there in bed I saw (on MASSBird!) that this bird had been seen in Cape May. There goes Maine!

We (my mom, my grandfather and I) started researching Cape May hotels immediately. I was so excited I didn’t even fall asleep from the Benadryl I was given!

That night I packed and got ready. I also took notes. I knew there was no stopping me-I was going to get that bird!!!

My grandfather (James Orrico) arrived at 8. We made great time hitting no traffic. Memories from my September trip to Cape May flashed back. We arrived and saw the huge sign for the Lobster House Restaurant (where the bird had been seen). There were about 5 birders there, but no bird. We called the Northwood Center and spoke to our English birder friend, Mike Cewe. He sent us off to a marina where the bird had been relocated. We followed a couple cars out and to the Breezeelee (what a name!) marina. Now this was more like it! There were at least 20 birders standing and scanning. No bird. I got onto the fish cleaning station platform. Tons of dead fish around (great for the gull). We all scanned and scanned, I took a detour to photograph a close Bufflehead, and then more scanning. Finally after 15 minutes the young woman standing next to me said, “I think I see it.” My binos were immediately up and I was right on it. IVORY GULL!!!!!!!!!!! It was casually sitting on a “water fence” not doing much. I really wonder how long it had been sitting there without anyone seeing it!!?? Here, again, I wished I had a scope. The bino view was fine but I wanted to get closer. I decided I would. Me and James walked down the boat ramp and got within 30 feet. This was fine but I really wanted the bird to be in front of my face. Boy-do I have expectations!!

Ivory Gull sitting on the “water fence.”

I then walked back to the platform and decided to wait to see if the bird moved. Well after 10 minutes of waiting, it did. The Ivory took off and flew (the most beautiful flying gull I’ve ever seen!) to the platform, then floated in midair for a couple seconds for good measure, then landed. Amazing!

The IVORY GULL “floats” in front of captivated birders.

I ran right onto the platform and got KILLER LOOKS at the gull. It was sitting next to a couple dead fish right under and next  to the platform. Amazing!

Ivory spreading its wings!

After a minute or two of sitting the IVORY GULL lifted off and began a circuit around the marina. It was wonderful to watch it fly. It was a graceful and terrific flier, ousting all the gulls around it. Again, just amazing!

Ivory on his circuit.

After 10-15 mins of flying the Ivory decided to give close views again. He went right back to the same spot, floated for a couple seconds and then landed. I was armed and ready.

Close view

View of the whole bird

Ivory opening its wings

He sat there for 3 minutes then lifted off again, to do another circuit of the marina. We then decided to leave, to chase Cape May’s other rarities.

What a bird! I’m still excited when thinking about-can’t believe I saw an Ivory!

To see more photos please view my photo gallery. There are many different views and poses in there, besides the few I posted here. Also, a video of the bird is posted in my old flickr library. Enjoy!

More entries about Cape May birding to come!


This entry was posted in Elsewhere Birding, Rarities. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to IVORY GULL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. underclearskies says:

    Hey Alex, Nice bird! Glad you managed a successful trip down for it! Some nice photo’s of a pretty magical species as well!

  2. Pingback: Best “Gripping Off” Ever

  3. Pingback: Another Ivory and More! « Flight of the Scrub-Jay

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