Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ivory Gull Pictures!

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the Ivory Gull for myself since it was just half an hour away. I drove over to Plymouth Harbor around 9:30 this morning and was in luck--the gull was still there!

I parked in the East Bay Grill parking lot since I had read some accounts online saying it had been seen there. Upon pulling into the parking lot I saw a couple walking to their car with tripod and camera bags in hand- I know this had to be the right spot. After parking I walked over to the boat launch where I had seen them walking from. Here's what I saw as I approached the harbor:

When I arrived (around 10:00) the gull was hanging out on the breakwater/jetty. I heard a woman say it had been right there in the parking lot though earlier that morning, feasting on the chicken carcasses (which were still there- you can thank me for not taking a picture of those).

Everyone was so friendly and very nice. I was talking to a bearded gentleman who was giving me the scoop on everything. He also helped introduce me to people who would let me look through their scopes.

Front View:

Side View:

At the time it was hard to tell if my pictures were coming out. The gull blends in with the snow so well, naturally it was hard to see. It was seated when I first arrived, was joined by a juvenile herring gull, then stood up for a while, then sat down again.
I was able to confirm at least some of the pictures came out by looking at the review screen of my PowerShot, so I felt comfortable leaving. I could have hung out to see if it came back to the parking lot, but it was windy, cold, and after Andy's comment (warning of the dangers of harassing rare birds) I decided it would be best to go home after getting my shot.
It was very exciting though- there were people from all over, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and the far reaches of Massachusetts. The man I was chatting with also confirmed that there are two ivory gulls in Massachusetts right now. The first was spotted in Gloucester Harbor, and it is in fact a different bird than the one in Plymouth Harbor because they have been seen simultaneously and the Gloucester bird has different markings.
Has anyone been to see either ivory gull?
UPDATE- 2.17.09
For some truly impressive pictures of the Plymouth Ivory Gull please visit Andy's Lens. This link will bring you to all of his posts about the ivory gull, including very crisp and close-up pictures:
For you photography officiandos, he also includes a post devoted entirely to the camera settings he used to get those great pictures.


Anonymous said...

It's funny. I was doing a photo shoot by the Maritime Heritage Center (Gloucester) last Saturday when I saw this little snow white gull fly by and by the time I got my camera pointed, it was just tail feathers. Then I heard about the Ivory gull. Hmmmm...I cannot call it a life bird because I didn't get a positive ID. What struck me was the lack of ~any~ field marks. I knew it was something special. I had no idea that there was an Ivory gull in town!

I'm very happy for you and Plymouth.

Kim said...

So cool that you got to see it. It sounds like you had a great time. Love the pictures.

Dawn Fine said...

I hope I had something to do with you going to see that gull...after all you were sooooo...close...
I am way down here in Florida and wont see hoo..
i am so happy you saw it.

Anonymous said...

That is great that you got to see it!

Birdinggirl said...

@Steve- that's really cool that you were one of the first to spot the Gloucester bird! What a great blog- I love Gloucester and enjoy seeing it from the perspective of the birds.

@Kallen- Thanks- I was pretty excited :)

@Dawn- Your comment was definitely one of the influencing factors! I figure if you and your husband(?) can travel as much as you do, I could make the half hour trip to Plymouth!

@Andy- Thanks! I was concerned about people spooking it, as you brought up, but at least when I was there it was chilling on the breakwater, far away from everyone. I'll be curious to see how long each of them stays around.

Bennet said...


It's been a while but I'm still around. I too went to see the gull, I went on Sunday first thing in the bitter cold and froze after five minutes, but it was the most amazing bird I've ever seen, and that's including the Pink-footed Goose that was seen in Falmouth a couple weeks ago. Great pics!

TY said...

Very nice blog. It is surely a beautiful bird.


Anonymous said...

Good for you for taking the time to go see the gull! What a cool thing to get to do.

Anonymous said...

I saw it!
Will post soon about it.

dguzman said...

Wow! Wish I were closer and could see this bird. Oh well! Congrats to you!

Larry said...

Congratulaions on seeing such a rarity.If I were on vacation I might have taken the drive up to check it out.