Birders flock to the Peninsula for a glimpse of rare gull

Laughing Gull normally seen on U.S. east coast and Gulf Coast to South America.

  • Jul. 14, 2016 7:00 p.m.

Laughing Gull

SIDNEY — It’s no laughing matter.

Another rare species was recently spotted in the Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary near Sidney, quickly attracting the attention of elite, world birders from the mainland and across Vancouver Island.

It was identified as a Laughing Gull, a small noisy gull from the east coast of the United States.

It resides there in summer and on the U.S. Gulf Coast  and northern South America year ‘round.

According to the Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH) and resident bird expert Kerry Findley, the gulls very rarely venture north of southern California.

At around 12:30 p.m. on July 7, Findley spotted a Laughing Gull on the tidal mud flats at Roberts Bay at The Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Sidney.

According to FOSH, this was the first photo-documented record for the west coast of Canada.

The rare and wary bird spent two days on the mud flats providing many birders the chance to see their species of a lifetime.

This the second time that a rare species has been documented in Shoal Harbour Sanctuary.

The last was a Black Phoebe, another species that is extremely rare outside its southern range. It was observed under similar weather and climatic conditions in late June, 2011, as La Nina weather took shape.

As of 3 p.m. on July 7, the gull was still present in a large flock of Glaucous-winged gulls and a few Mew gulls.

“The bird is actively feeding but is flighty and is frequently being flushed by a Bald Eagle,” Findley reported.

“The bird was last seen in the southwest area of Roberts Bay near the Mermaid Creek Delta off the end of Fifth Street in Sidney.”

— Submitted by Friends of Shoal Harbour

Just Posted

Christmas at McTavish Market gets bigger

Visitors of McTavish Market on the corner of McTavish and East Saanich… Continue reading

Extended Tsawout bus route on its way

Residents of Tsawout First Nation got a preview of a route extension,… Continue reading

Central Saanich man pleads guilty to sex offences

Charges involve child pornography, luring, and uttering threats

UPDATED: Woodwynn Farm decries eviction notices

Central Saanich treatment centre says the municipality issued ‘No Occupancy’ orders Wednesday

Brentwood Bay boaters pack council chambers

District management plan, and new fees, cause objections

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Coins for Kids campaign is back!

News Review helping collect money to buy presents for children on the Saanich Peninsula

Panthers pay tribute to former player Derek Turnbull

Sunday’s hockey game is minor hockey and fan appreciation night

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Peninsula Santa’s Helpers get $2,000 toy donation

Realtor Chace Whitson and builder Carson Shanks challenge others to do the same

Chamber of commerce warns Sidney businesses of possible scam

SIDNEY — Business owners in Sidney are warning each other about a… Continue reading

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Most Read