[mou] Mew Gull--Eagle Lake, Blue Earth County

Chad Heins odunamis at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 13 23:28:17 CDT 2008

Hey birders!

Sorry for the lateness of this post.  I was having internet issues.  I was out for a walk with my family this afternoon (4:30pm) along the Sakatah Trail.  This trail passes directly through Eagle Lake (you may recall a certain famous Pomarine Jaeger).  

On the north side of the trail there is still an ice pack with many a lounging gull.  Most of the birds were Ring-billed Gulls with a couple of Herring Gulls mixed in.  As we were about to head back to the car an odd gull flew in.  I believe it was a 1st winter Mew Gull.

It cooperatively landed in the water at the edge of the ice alongside a Ring-billed Gull.  The general impression was a of a slender, slightly shorter Ring-billed Gull.  The head was small and evenly rounded with a dark eye.  The beak was short, slender, and tipped in black. Flight feathers were dark brown.  Its tail was white at the base and had a thick soft brown terminal band that was lighter in color to the primaries.  

I've seen a similarly plumaged bird in Milwaukee, WI during winter years ago but did not expect to see such a bird in the Mankato area.  To get to where I saw the bird, take County Road 3 north from Highway 14 east of Mankato.  Park in the parking lot for the Sakatah Trail and walk east until you get to a bridge.  The bird was on the north side.

Good luck!

Chad Heins
Mankato, MN


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