Black-legged Kittiwake at Mono Lake (first Mono County record)

Observers: Jon Dunn , Kathy Duvall, Justin Hite, Debbie House, Kristie Nelson, Susan Steele, Andy Zdon, and others from the ESAS Field Trip
Remote Name:
Date: 12/04/2006
Time: 04:32 PM -0500

A group of us met at the Rush Creek delta yesterday morning (12/3) at 8:00 in the hopes of re-finding the Kittiwake that had been seen the day before. There were no gulls at the delta when we arrived, but within moments there was much yelling and cheering as the immature Black-legged Kittiwake, a new Mono County record, flew in and dropped down at the river mouth to bathe and drink. Characteristic features include the black band on the nape, strong black M in the wings, and black-tipped tail. A few minutes after it landed the Long-tailed Duck paddled up to join the Kittiwake and a pair of California Gulls that had also flown in. The Kittiwake stayed for about ten minutes, then hopped up and flew off to the northeast. Jon and others watched it until it disappeared in the fog several miles out. The bird was first seen and identified by Jon Dunn and others of the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society winter birding field trip at about 3:30pm on 12/2 flying over the sagebrush south of Lee Vining tufa, heading north. I (Justin) probably saw it at about 2pm the same day flying south about a mile east of Rush Creek delta., but I didnít have a scope and couldnít do any better than ID it as a vaguely Sabineís-like Gull flapping too slowly to be an immature Bonaparteís. Iím not sure how long a bird like this will stay. It has been seen now in several places along the central southern shore, and I think places like Rush Creek delta and maybe even Lee Vining Creek delta are probably the best places to try for it. I hope no one from the field trip minds that Iíve posted this before they post an official account of their day, but I just want to get the word out about the Kittiwake before itís gone.

Black-legged Kittiwake © Justin Hite, 3 Dec 2006, Mono Lake
Black-legged Kittiwake © Susan Steele, 3 Dec 2006, Mono Lake
Long-tailed Duck © Susan Steele, 3 Dec 2006, Mono Lake
Mountain Plover © Susan Steele, 2 Dec 2006, Crowley Lake