MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

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Ian Southey
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby Ian Southey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:16 pm

Looking at the wings on this bird I think it might stick around until it has finished primary moult. The outer primaries are very old and worn and it's hard to say but it looks like the inner ones are fresh and it will be harder to fly as these outer ones are dropped.

The real question is whether or not the place it was found is its favorite spot or not. The Franklin's Gull up here turned up at Kidd's on one day, was missing for a while before turning up briefly at the Ardmore aerodrome and then moving to Bruce Pulman Park. Even then it must have used other places as it wasn't always there and was once again seen on the Manukau. Maybe there's a lot of generous picnickers and it will be very happy to stay put.

Looking forward to see how people go with it.

Ian
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David Riddell
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby David Riddell » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:02 pm

Ian, I think you're right about the state of moult. As to whether it's scrounging off human visitors, it didn't seem to be paying people much attention while we were there, though on the other hand it didn't seem overly wary either, and was quite approachable. I wanted it to fly so I could check out its wing markings, and it took a bit of effort to get it to take off. Later it flew around a bit more, but never went far. At one point it found a chicken bone and had a lot of fun picking bits off it, which I guess is an indication that human visitors are appreciated.

Meantime here are a few more photos from yesterday, showing a bit more detail on wings etc. (note moult on the first photo), also the chicken bone...
Laughing gull wing underside and white trailing edge.JPG
Laughing gull wing underside and white trailing edge.JPG (77.3 KiB) Viewed 607 times
Laughing gull flying with chicken bone.JPG
Laughing gull flying with chicken bone.JPG (35.64 KiB) Viewed 607 times
Laughing gull and red-billed gull.JPG
Laughing gull and red-billed gull.JPG (441.06 KiB) Viewed 607 times
Ian Southey
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby Ian Southey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:41 pm

Useful pictures David. It's much further along with moult than I thought but the outer primaries take longest to grow so it should be there a little bit longer yet. I'm sure you'll be fine Joe - if it can be predictably found...

Ian
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Michael
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby Michael » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:53 pm

Ian Southey wrote:Useful pictures David. It's much further along with moult than I thought but the outer primaries take longest to grow so it should be there a little bit longer yet. I'm sure you'll be fine Joe - if it can be predictably found...

Ian

Is that to suggest it has been hiding here for some time now?
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sav
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby sav » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:39 pm

I've been in touch, sporadically, through the day with those looking for the bird - Tim Barnard, Phil Hammond and Erik Forsythe. Tim was pretty sure he saw it in Ohiwa Harbour first thing this morning but at extreme range, and then no sightings through the day, even though they split up and checked everywhere they could think of.

After more than 10 hours on watch, Phil has just called to say that the gull is now (19.30) on Tern Island in Ohiwa Harbour.

So the very good news is that it's still around, and all we have to do now is work out where it likes to spend it's time! Ohiwa would be the starting point I guess......

cheers
Sav Saville
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Tim Barnard
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby Tim Barnard » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:16 pm

Sorry for the delay, very early this morning the bird was on the spit on the seaward side just north the dotterel enclosure at Ohiwa. Phils got it on Tern Island which isn't that far away. Highish tides and the evening/morning roosts looks like the best option. I suspect its been cruising around Ohiwa and Ohope all day.

Thanks David and Annette, great work on getting the info out so fast.
phil hammond
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby phil hammond » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:32 pm

Firstly thanks to David and Annette for finding, and particularly for prompt reporting of this mega

Between Tim, Erik, and myself we probably checked Te Ahiaua reserve and the little estuary visible from it, at least 10 times yesterday from very early morning to evening and it wasn't there on any of those occasions, the rest of the time we were checking surrounding harbours and beaches

It was seen twice on Ohiwa Spit and once on Tern island and those sightings were early morning and evening [high tide yesterday a bit after 4pm]

Anyone looking for it on Tern Island from the shore or spit needs a scope and some patience ----there is vegetation on the island and when the bird was hunkered down it was well hidden. I got lucky after waiting for a while it stood up and then it was very obvious, even though it was in the middle of a mixed flock of red and black bills and w f terns, not actually for size but more for the dark upper parts, huge bill [even from distance], and very different stance and jizz

At 8pm all the small gulls flew 100m or less, over to the end of Ohiwa spit where there is no vegetation, and even though once again it was in the flock, it was very easy to pick it out------lovely evening light, and with little or no heat shimmer or wind I was able to zoom up to 60x and get a good view. They only stayed on the spit a couple of minutes

BTW there is a black-billed gull sitting on a nest on top of an old log between the spit and Tern Island

I got home at 2.30 this morning after an early start yesterday---but was making coffee and opening prezzies at 7.30!

Merry christmas everyone and good luck to those going for this bird tomorrow----tides at a good time early evening!!
igor
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby igor » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:02 pm

The gull put in a brief 5 min visit at 8pm on the emerging mud flats of Tern Island, viewed from the spit. It had not roosted with the mixed gull flock on the island over high tide as a harrier had put them all up previously. It flew in over the spit, then flew off to the opposite side of the harbour where the roosting red-billed gulls had gone previously. Blink and you miss it, good luck for others trying. A couple of folks I met will be checking again in the morning. Was not seen at original location over several visits by others (I focused on the spit and Island).
Cheers,
Igor
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David Riddell
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby David Riddell » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:36 pm

Just stopped by the original spot. No sign, lots of people.
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RussCannings
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Re: MEGA Laughing Gull - Te Ahiaua Reserve

Postby RussCannings » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:33 pm

Hi Igor, by opposite side od the harbour do you mean Ohope-way? Might have a look around Ohope Beach and spit area tomorrow (Tues) to see if it's more reliable there.

Russ

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