Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)

To: "'robert morris'" <>, "'Andrew Stafford'" <>, <>
Subject: Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 10:45:37 +1030
Thanks very much Rob, very helpful, exactly the sort of info we need.

Now all it needs is for someone else to see it and give a current/ later


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of robert morris
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 8:27 PM
To: Andrew Stafford; 
Subject: Sabine's Gull, Scarborough (Redcliffe, QLD)

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 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
Rob Morris  Brisbane, Australia > From: > To:
> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 17:14:39 +1000>
Subject: 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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