Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)

To: Andrew Stafford <>, <>
Subject: Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)
From: robert morris <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 09:57:27 +0000

Sorry for the silence from my end, while people have been trying to get info on 
this sighting. I've had a difficult day getting too and from work as my car was 
written-off 10 mins after I got off the Southport Pelagic on Saturday afternoon 
when a big 4WD and boat ploughed into the back of me (as Paul Walbridge and 
others can confirm!!)

This is (was) a genuine observation. It's one of those species we (Poms) see 
regularly particulalry in the SW of the UK in August-Sept. I have seen a lot 
going back to the 70s! I would have made more of an effort to report it earlier 
had it not been for the fact that it didn't stop (I was hoping it would drop in 
with the roosting Silver Gulls and Terns) but it just carried on going beyond 
Drury Point and out into Morton Bay towards the port. They rarely stop in the 
UK with other gulls when they are passing along the coast. Also I didn't have 
my mobile phone with me so I couldn't contact local birders immediately.

My honest obsevations were: it was approximately 50m off-shore on a rising 
tide. I was probably c. 30-40m from the shore. The winds onshore were 
reasonable strong (30-35kph). I noticed a small gull which had an almost tern 
like 'light' flight coming towards me from N to S with a black (looking) head.  
I nearly fell off the seat and raised my bins. Those of you who have seen 
Sabine's know the head is a very dark ashy grey but in bright light the hood 
looks more or less black, and in such conditions you can't see the black border 
where the hood meets the white neck feathers unless it is fluttering around you 
or sitting on the beach! The wing pattern was immediately striking with a black 
wedge of outer primaries, a white triangle of inner primaries and secondaries 
and a grey mantle and coverts. The tail was white. They are simply 

The bird flew reasonable direct and low across the water but did briefly lift 
and interact with a couple of Silver gulls which were clearly larger than it. 
It then carried going in a pretty direct way and fairly low I assume due to the 

I didn't see the yellow tip to the bill (again those of you who have seen 
Sabine's will know that this is not easy to see in bright light against a 
bright sea when a bird is flying) and I didn't notice white tips to the 
primaries (the same comment applies).  The eye / eye-ring weren't discernable. 
I was using 10x40 Leicas.
I reported it so others could go and look for it in case it hangs around. They 
occasionally do and I have seen quite a few on London Reservoirs following SW 
gales in the UK. That said they are a very pelagic gull and it may well just 
bugger off out to sea. I will report the sighting in a genuine way (who to?) 
but I am completely unconcerned whether it is accepted or not. I'm not in the 
slightest bit interested in Aus listing (I only keep a world list) and my 
lifers at Sundown (Turquoise Parrots, Diamond Firetails and Fuscous Honeyeater) 
the previous weekend and the views of Tahiti Petrel and White-necked Petrel on 
Saturday were far more interesting to me personally!

Rob Morris  Brisbane, Australia > From: > To: 
> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 17:14:39 +1000> Subject: 
[Birding-Aus] Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)> > Hi all,> > Made it 
out to the Redcliffe area this afternoon - work commitments> prevented me going 
earlier - to look for the Sabine's Gull. No Tony, it is> not a furphy, the 
observer concerned has seen hundreds of them and it's in> full breeding nick. 
If you've seen a Sabine's before you'll know they're> unmistakeable even in 
non-breeding plumage.> > Unfortunately, I was unable to verify it myself, 
despite checking every> group of gulls I could find between Scarborough Boat 
Harbour and Clontarf.> Basically it could be anywhere in Moreton Bay or beyond 
and I'll have> another look tomorrow morning including at Southbank in South 
Brisbane,> where a Franklin's Gull turned up in the late 1990s. Obviously the 
more eyes> out, the better.> > It's worth pointing out that the rocky spit to 
the right of the boat harbour> at Scarborough had probably a couple of hundred 
Silver Gulls roosting this> afternoon along with Crested, Caspian, Common and 
Little Terns. It was the> first place I looked and certainly it wasn't a bad 
place to start. Bob> Inglis I hope has his eagle eyes out in the area so 
hopefully it'll show up.> > Andrew Stafford> > ===============================>>> > To unsubscribe from this 
mailing list, > send the message:> unsubscribe > (in the body of the message, 
with no Subject line)> to: > 
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