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#ABArare – Mew Gull – New Jersey

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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.

ABArare Mew Gull New Jersey Fergusphoto by Rob Fergus

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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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
John Puschock

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  • http://birdchaser.blogspot.com Rob

    More photos on my Flickr stream: http://tinyurl.com/atp5l9g

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0162fcb45008970d Robert Mortensen

    Congrats Rob! That is so cool to have a state first record, in NJ of all places where so many of the top birders live, work, and play.

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