Franklin's Gull, Blue-winged Teal at Bishop Sewer Ponds

Observers: Chris and Rosie Howard
Verification: MONO
Remote Name:
Date: 04/16/2007
Time: 06:51 PM -0400


Today at lunch (16 Apr) we observed a breeding-plumaged Franklin's Gull and a Blue-winged Teal at the Bishop Sewer Ponds. We were careful to separate the Franklin's from the more regular Bonaparte's gull, which also shows a black head. Today's bird had a solidly black head with bold, white eye-arcs, and dark red bill. At close range, the bill was so dark red it almost appeared black, however it was definitely reddish. There was a subterminal, complete black ring around the dark red bill. In flight, the bird showed a solid gray mantle and upperwing, similar in shade to Cal Gull (somewhat dark). The tips of the upper wing showed the classic ‘string of pearls’ with a white band separating the small black subterminal tips to the primaries from the rest of the wing. The inner primaries and secondaries were tipped white, giving a narrow band. The white trailing edge appeared to widen toward the end of the wing, connecting with the white separating the sting of pearls. When viewed from the underside, the black subterminal tips were isolated by white, but the underside of the wing was pale, so there wasn’t as much contrast as the upperside. The Blue-winged Teal was a breeding plumaged male. There were also a flock of 75-100 Least Sandpipers and a Wilson's Snipe. Hundreds of ducks. Good birding.