Re: Western Gull, the rest of the story.

From: J. Zatorski
Date: 3/30/02
Time: 11:39:42 AM
Remote Name:


The Rest of the Story:

I was driving north on highway 395 when I spotted a large gull just north of the Keough Springs turnoff walking on the shoulder. After pulling off on to Collins Rd. I quickly checked my book for a gull with a dark mantel, white head and underside, all yellow bill, and pink legs and feet. Upon realizing that there where only two possible birds this could be, I went back to the Keough Springs turnoff to find the bird still walking south in the shoulder of the north bound lanes. It was walking on the shoulder and picking at things in the dirt just off the pavement. I watched the gull for about 10 minutes and was able to make a positive identification as a Western Gull. I then called Chris Howard to report the siting, and he said that there was only one previous Western Gull siting for Inyo County. He then mentioned that he was going to call Rosie and they would be there in a few minutes. At that time the gull was about six feet from my truck and it was beginning to wander into the traffic lane. A few cars whizzed by the bird, and then I tossed some gravel toward the bird to shoo it out of the traffic lanes right before a big rig would have certainly creamed it. The gull landed in the median and was walking about and looking around in a confused manner for about 10 minutes. The bird then began to walk into the southbound traffic lane where a few more cars nearly hit it. Now about five minutes after I talked to Chris a car clipped the bird, and I thought it done for. It got to its feet again as a few more cars whizzed by. At this point I got my sweatshirt and safely walked out to the median. I picked the bird up and returned to my truck and put it in the back of the truck. It took a few minutes to crawl out of the sweatshirt and stood in the back of the truck looking around somewhat foggy minded. After about ten minutes the gull threw up twice what looked to be beetles, soon after Chris showed up and Rosie came a little later. We all had excellent looks while the bird was standing in the truck. Now about 15 minutes after the throw up, it began to look about in a more alert manner and then opened its wings and took flight. The gull made three circles over the adjacent fields, giving us great looks of the Western in flight, and it then headed south over the fields and brush possibly toward Klondike Lake.