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Little Gull Steps to Happiness

3/17/2023


Earlier this week, I finally got out to do some birding. Between work, house stuff, and being stuck with a dead car battery, it has been tough to get out. I finally made it out and decided to chase a rare gull; unfortunately, it was not the Ross's Gull that has been haunting the lakefront with sporadic appearances.


Instead, it was the Little Gull that has been present for about a week here in the Indianapolis area. It is hard to complain about a gull of this caliber 30 minutes from my doorstep. I got to the park and checked from the Ornithology Center to see if I could see a gull flock down on the mudflats. I did not see any movement and headed over to the Earth Discover Center to scope out the reservoir from there; nothing but a few Ring-billed flying around. I decided I should not be so lazy and drove back to walk down to the mudflats behind the sanctuary. When I arrived, I found some birders already locked onto something in flight. It only took a second to recognize the black underwings of a Little Gull flitting around. The light was harsh; so, I decided to move on up the path a bit to get a slightly better light angle. The gull was flying a pattern that brought it decently close. It was just a matter of catching it at the right points to consistently light the bird. That was tricky. For the gull's part, it just kept up a consistent pattern and let me slowly dial in settings. Not that the gull was concerned about me getting a picture. It was busy feeding. I just did not realize that for a bit. In fact, I had to look at my pictures to figure out what it was doing - flycatching. So, while I was concerned that it was not doing much feeding and spending a lot of energy flying back and forth, the gull knew what it was doing. I just never really pictured gulls flycatching for food. I spent a while just watching and waiting. I figured lighting would be about as good as it was going to get around sunset, when the sun disappeared behind some trees and the lighting would be even. About that time, the gull flew up around a bend and disappeared. I am pretty happy with what I got, though.


It had definitely been way too long since I have been out to get some photos. Things always seem to pile up and get in the way. While sitting on a log at the edge of a big mudflat may not be everyone's idea of fun, it made me happy. If that makes me sound like a crazy old coot, well, I was not the only one out there.

American Coot

Thanks for reading,

Mike


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