Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Seems Like I'm Complaining About Something I've Lost Interest In

It's time to do some serious pandering here folks.  This one is for the nerds.  No one else could possibly be interested in gull identification (although I once somehow got Pinko to go with me to look for a Slaty-back once....hmm...).

Our dark-backed friend here is an adult Slaty-backed Gull, with a Glaucous-winged Gull on the right.  I have had a long history of not seeing Slaty-backed Gulls.  All the way back when I was roaming around Ventura County as an awkward teenager (as opposed to an awkward twentysomething), Slaty-backs were on the brain.  Don DesJardin found a first-winter bird, which at the time would have been the first documented record of one in California.  This was a really big deal.  This species is much more at home on the coast of Japan than at the Ventura Harbor.  However, the California Bird Records Committee (aka The Bird Police) denied this identification for some vacuous and asinine reasons.  This became quite the hot topic among nerd circles.  I looked for this bird of course, but never saw it...and as far as I know its still been officially denied, although most anyone who is anyone would say that this bird was, in fact, a Slaty-backed Gull.

Shortly afterward, a certain CBRC member found one at the Salton Sea, which of course was accepted by the committee...this was also a hot topic among gull connoisseurs.  I also looked for this bird and failed to see it.  In the following years, Slaty-backs were found regularly in California, most often at Half Moon Bay.  When I moved to San Francisco back in 2007, I thought to myself, "Half Moon Bay is thirty minutes away.  I will see hella Slaty-backed Gulls."  But do you know how many I saw?  None.

On the boat ride out to Buldir, I managed to be below deck for not one, but two Slaty-backed Gulls that cruised by the boat.  This was getting absurd.  I was determined to find one now, lest this bird become another unfortunate entry onto my "nemesis bird" list.  Fortunately, my worries were unwarranted.  This Slaty-backed Gull even looks like a Slaty-backed Gull. 

Now, me and Slaty-backed Gulls are like old friends.  And you know what?  Its good to have friends.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, Brady here, ready to get even nerdier. The VenCo SBGU has been accepted by the CBRC, while the Salton City bird never was, never has been and never will be accepted.