American Herring Gull (smithsonianus)

(last update: October 30, 2015)

Amar Ayyash (US)
Bruce Mactavish (Canada)
Dave Brown (Canada)
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)

American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) 2cy (1st cycle) L04 February 27 2012, Magnolia Landfill - Baldwin County, Alabama. Picture: Bill Summerour.

See website: The Gulls Of Appledore

On February 27th, Dr. Bill Summerour spotted L04 at the Magnolia Landfill in Baldwin County, Alabama. L04 was banded as a chick on July 12th, 2011.

The sighting, reported by Eric Soehren of the Alabama DCNR, is one of only a handful of resights we’ve received from Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico. Located about 1,300 miles from Appledore, the Magnolia Landfill attracts a variety of gull species wintering in the south. Eric provided us with more on the landfill:
"The Magnolia Landfill (located in south Baldwin County) is one of the best sites to view gulls along coastal Alabama. In addition to seeing thousands of Ring-billeds and Laughing Gulls, the main draw to this site are the “rare” gulls that turn up with them over the winter months; rare in terms of Alabama records. Examples of rarities include Iceland “Kumlien’s”, Thayer’s, Glaucous, Lesser Black-backed, etc that turn up almost annually. As a result, it is one of the sites featured on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail (Stop 19). The managers of the landfill have worked with local birders to provide an overlook for birder’s to scan the gulls enabling for opportunities like Dr. Summerour’s observation to happen."

Indeed, landfills and beaches continue to be popular wintering spots for the gulls. We thank Jon, Bill, and Eric for these great resights. Our gulls have been found all over from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico so keep a sharp eye because you never know where you’ll find the Gulls of Appledore! Dr. Julie Ellis and Longtime Gull Wrangler Bill Clark contributed to this post.