Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)

To: robert morris <>, Andrew Stafford <>, <>
Subject: Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 22:00:42 +1100
A quick question from a non-Qld birder. Where is the Scarborough you are 
talking about exactly? I thought it was on the Gold Coast (where thre is a 
shopping centre Scarborough Fair), but it has been said at Scarborough Harbour 
near Redcliffe (the other side of Brisbane). Since you left Redcliffe in the 
title above I am assuming the latter - just wanted clear things up in my own 
Peter> From: > To: ; 
> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 09:57:27 +0000> Subject: 
[Birding-Aus] Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)> > > Hi> > 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 unmistakeable.> > 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 wind.> > 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!> > cheers> 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 
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