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Bird Counts

2017 Cowlitz County Bird List - October Update

Sabine's Gull - Image by LynTopinka.
Sabine's Gull - Image by Lyn Topinka.

We were only able to add one species to our list in the last two months, but what a fun species it was. Cowlitz's second ever record of Sabine's Gull showed up in the Woodland Bottoms and spent at least nine days entertaining a large number of birders from Washington and northwest Oregon. This bird was a juvenile and while quite drab when on the water or walking on the shoreline, it shows a very striking black and white pattern when in flight.

Sabine's Gull - Glaucous Winged Gull - LynTopinka
Sabine's Gull - Glaucous-winged Gull - Image by Lyn Topinka

Sabine's Gull is a very common fall migrant in Washington waters of the Pacific Ocean, but a few do seem to come through the interior of the state with some following the Columbia River downstream. Usually these are seen only by one person as they go by. To have one hang around for nine days is quite rare. This small gull favored a public access stretch of the Columbia that is used by bank fishermen and was finding a plentiful food supply of discarded bait and being around fish carcasses and getting small chunks that came off as the larger gulls pulled the carcass apart.

Download the pdf here.