Saturday, January 03, 2009

Black-legged Kittiwake visits Hoover Reservoir

Today, I jumped on the Ohio Birds e-mail list archives and noticed that a really rare gull, especially on inland lakes in Ohio, was sighted a few days ago at Hoover Reservoir. I was thinking of going to Hoover, and the presence of this would be life bird for me cemented the deal. I asked Megan if she would like to go, and she obliged.

We got there, and with the help of others, I was able to spot it in a scope. I had brought my tripod and my new Canon FS100 camcorder to get a video clip of this bird. Supposedly, you have to go to Alaska or extreme northeastern Canada to see these fish eating gulls.

This particular individual is a juvenile-the black collar and spot is eventually lost, according to what I have read. Enjoy this bird, and if you are in Columbus, try to get out and see it. It is hanging out just north of the dam at Hoover Reservoir.

Note on the video: The wind wasn't that bad. The camera's "windscreen", a feature that is supposed to silence the wind, isn't the strongest feature of the FS100! I would recommend gloves though. My hands were freezing.

UPDATE- Jason Larson, one of Ohio's most enthusiastic birders, who just ended a mult-day birding trip around the state, said this about the kittiwake at the Ohio birds list serve, which really puts this bird into perspective:

"If you have not seen the Black-legged Kittwake...then GO TOMORROW (today). It was a life/state bird for me and it is very much worth the trip to Hoover Dam (Columbus) to see it! These birds are normally fly-by, one-day wonders on the lake, rarelyrecorded inland and this one has been in one general location (above and below the dam) and very cooperative for three days."



  1. They are a very pretty gull. There colonies on cliffs in Alaska with all their vocalizations is a really exciting and intense experience. The red legged one's are really cool too. It's nice to hear that they are cruising the U.S.

  2. Very cool- every time I looked at it in the binoculars, however, it was hanging close to another seagull. it was alone in this video.

  3. Great video and how wonderful to see a life bird that is rare for your area! Congrats!

  4. Beautiful shot, Tom. I enjoyed the video clip.

  5. Nice! That'd be a lifer for me too.

  6. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Glad to be back blogging. Sorry I have been gone for so long.

  7. How awesome! Congrats on the sighting. Sometimes you've GOTTA take that opportunity, y'know?

  8. How thrilling to see such a rare species like a Black-legged Kittiwake as a life bird! Thanks for sharing the experience. Sure wish I could count watching the video as my life sighting ...

  9. Your video was great! It was not quite as great as seeing it in person though. We saw it today just north of the dam at Hoover Reservoir.