Sunday, November 23, 2008

Early Birding

From beneath warm blankets into a frosty morning,
sun just creeping above the treetops,
heavy mist lifting from the water of East Fork State Park,
we have come to see a bird.

Morning Mist
East Fork State Park

A Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus, a rare visitor to southwestern Ohio, from this species’ high Arctic breeding grounds.

And he is here, feeding beside some others, Ring-billed and Bonaparte’s Gulls, on a narrow slip of land.

Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus (right)
beside Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis (left)

The group watches, and waits in the 14-degree morning,
stamping cold feet and puffing warm breath into cold fingers.
Some birds are “lifers.”
Others are once-in-a-lifetime.

There will be many other mornings to sleep in.

Glaucous Gull,
East Fork Lake,
November 2008

East Fork Lake

all photos click to enlarge

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TSannie said...

Wonderful. That is one of very few reasons one would choose to brave a 14ยบ morning! Congrats on the sighting, and thanks for sharing!

Leedra said...

And my husband says "it is just a gull". I am still working on getting him to look closer.

Susan Gets Native said...

You know what, Nina? I was JUST THERE. And couldn't find it. I called Kathi to find out when/where it had been spotted. I couldn't figure out how to get from the North beach (by the campground) to the South beach (where I normally come in). Too bad my car isn't amphibious. I would have just driven across the lake.
: )

Lynne said...

Lucky you! That's quite a find.
He's a big guy!

nina said...

Susan--I thought I saw you over there! (just kidding, didn't look much further than the gull!)

Leedra--Maybe if I lived in Alaska, this, too, would be "just a gull." But, for me in Ohio, probably a really rare gift.

TSannie--You could not have imagined a more beautiful morning--sunrise over lake, mist over water, REALLY COOL GULL,...!

Deborah Godin said...

Did you see the post on a similar gull over at
It was her Nov. 18th post.

Congrats on a good addition to your list!

KatDoc said...

Nice pics, Nina!

Hey, wait a minute ---

You didn't have your camera on the bird walk yesterday. Did you go back today?

Did you see Jay's post about today's Oxbow walk? Remember when you said, "What would we get at the Oxbow on Sunday that we won't get at East Fork on Sat?" and someone said, "Nothing." Well, they got 60-some Sandhill Cranes, 2 Bald Eagles, and a Snow Goose today.

Oh, well.

~Kathi, who finally warmed up

nina said...

Bald Eagles?--in my backyard, so no biggie. :-)
But, Sandhill Cranes?? (Exactly what I would do just about anything to see!)

And, yes, I DID go back this a.m. with camera to try to capture what I missed yesterday--it was just about as perfect the second time around!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The early birder gets the bird Nina. Congrats on a great bird. They are beautiful big gulls.

Evan Johnson said...

The first photo is great I like the frost.

I like to sleep in a little too much but it sounds like it was worth the trip.

The fifth photo is great too, the reflection is really interesting.

- Evan

Rurality said...

It takes a special committment to get up so early, when it's so cold, to see a gull... and it takes a special blogger to go back the next day to take pictures! :) Great bird!

nina said...

Deborah--thanks for that link. There certainly are a lot of questions that arise when a bird is found outside its normal range!

Lisa--the early birder, indeed! And the reward is even greater if, instead of thinking you're seeing a bird, you realize you're part of something rather unusual.

Evan--I'm finding that sleep is becoming less and less important. Or maybe it's that other things are becoming MORE important?

Rurality--you'd think I would have learned this lesson--never leave camera behind! It just goes to show you how much I've yet to learn!

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

Your photos are just stunning! Really stunning!

Mary said...

That's a beautiful gull (lifer? Yay!).

The sunrise is equally wonderful.


NCmountainwoman said...

Lovely pictures. Thank heaven for LL Bean and others who give us lightweight comfortable clothing for these excursions in the cold.

I felt invigorated just looking at the photographs.

Toni said...

Some mornings are worth getting up for and braving the cold.

RuthieJ said...

Wow, what a pretty day you had and you got to see that cool gull!
14 is OK as long as there's not much wind and the sun is out (at least that's what we say here in Minnesota).

kjpweb said...

Great captures! Love the first one!
Cheers, Klaus