Kumlien's Iceland Gull at Clifton Court Forebay

Noah Arthur

Albert Linkowski showed me around the northwest side of Clifton Court Forebay today (what a great place!), where at first there were relatively few gulls, so we walked to the swamp on the north side of the forebay, where a gnat hatch was attracting a lot of insectivore activity. Good birds included two HOUSE WRENS and a continuing BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER that Albert had found here earlier in the winter.
When we returned to the forebay, much of it was covered in gulls. There must have been at least several thousand of them out there, with some flocks within easy scoping distance on the northwest side of the forebay (north of Clifton Court Rd). Within five minutes a pale, sharply checkered, pigeon-billed KUMLIEN'S ICELAND GULL presented itself on the near edge of the flock. This first-winter bird was absolutely stunning, pale and patterned with a tiny bill and spectacularly elongated "rear end" -- making it stand out as a somewhat nightawk-shaped gull!
There was also a sick first-cycle Herring-type gull with many characteristics of 'Vega' Gull loafing along the shore. More on that one once I get some expert opinions.
Noah Arthur, Oakland CA

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