On Jan 10, Frank Sencher, Jr. called Rob Fergus to let him know a Greater White-fronted Goose, a local rarity, was at Spruce Run Reservoir in Hunterdon County, NJ. Fergus headed over to the reservoir, and Sencher was able to show him the goose. They then went to the other side of the reservoir to look through a group of about 1000 gulls. Fergus hit paydirt when he picked a Mew Gull out of the crowd, a first — and some would say long overdue — record for New Jersey, pending acceptance.
This individual appears to be a “Common Gull”, the European subspecies Larus canus canus. Many, but not all, records from the East Coast are of this subspecies. Some of the features suggestive of L. c. canus include upperparts that are not much darker than Ring-billed Gull, paler than would be expected on the the North American subspecies of Mew Gull (L. c. brachyrhynchus), and lighter streaking on the head than the typical North American Mew Gull.
The gull was found around 4 PM, and Sencher was able to get the news out quickly enough for about six other birders to get there in time to see it before it and most of the other gulls left about an hour later at dusk. Other birders will certainly be looking for it over the next several days. Check the New Jersey listserv for updates.
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