Ross's Goose, Blue Snow Goose, Hooded Mergs, and 2 Herring Gull at Rush delta

Observers: Justin Hite
Email: justinhiteatgmail.com
Remote Name: 65.241.2.253
Date: 11/27/2006
Time: 09:57 PM -0500

I donít know if the storm was responsible for the big change at the Rush Creek delta, but there were a lot of new birds there today. There were 16 species of waterfowl including a lone Rossís Goose that was standing in shallow water at the delta (Gainesí book shows only three records for Mono Lake, all in December and January). There were 27 Snow Geese floating on the water a few hundred yards off shore, and one of them was an immature Blue phase Snow Goose with a very dark gray neck and breast. They repeatedly lifted up off the wind swept water to fly short distances before landing again, and I could make out this birdís dark tail, very dark neck, moderately dark wing coverts (but much paler than the primaries), and dark underparts (when landing) very clearly. 

Other waterfowl included three Hooded Merganser (one of which was a male), one Common Merganser, one Common Goldeneye, four Aythya ducks (Canvasback, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, and Ring-necked Duck), and the usual dabblers. There was a group of gulls at the delta as well, made up of 14 Ring-billed Gulls, two immature California Gulls, and two immature Herring Gulls. One of the Herring Gulls is in first-winter plumage and the other is in a very pale second-winter plumage. No Eared Grebes in the waters off the delta today, just Ruddy Ducks. And one Common Loon flying by the delta when I first got there.

1st winter Herring Gull in flight; second winter in foreground, right
Second-winter Herring Gull
Second-winter Herring Gull
Ross's Goose
Ross's Goose