Worm-eating Warbler, Clear Creek Metro Park, Hocking, OH
Not a life bird, but way more rare in Ohio, and the first record for Franklin county, was this breeding-plumage adult California Gull (CAGU) that showed up at Hoover Dam last week! I found the bird on Sunday evening, and called some fellow birders to come see/confirm this rarity. Ten minutes later, about five minutes before Paul Hurtado arrived on the scene, the bird took off! We could not relocate it that evening, and I was pretty bummed. The next day, birding superhero Ben Warner spent almost 12 hours scouring Hoover up and down in search of the bird. He not only saved my butt by confirming the ID, but also put on one of the greatest single day efforts in chasing a rarity that I have heard of. Here are the excellent diagnostic photos by Ben Warner:
Nice look at the field marks for a breeding adult CAGU (left): red and black on the bill, red iris, round head, pale geenish-yellow legs, and a slightly smaller size than Herring Gull (right).
This photo shows the difference in the tone of gray on the mantle between CAGU and surrounding Ring-billed Gulls, which also have the same shade of gray as Herring Gulls. CAGU is slightly darker, called a smoky or slate gray, not as dark as Lesser Black-backed or Great Black-backed Gulls.
Finally, an awesome head shape comparison between CAGU and HERG. The rounded head of the CAGU versus the long, sloping forehead of the HERG. Good work, Ben.
And last but not least (well, maybe least), these Trumpeter Swans made an appearance on OSU's campus this last week. I was riding the campus bus, and noticed two swans floating down our incredibly dirty Olentangy River. Trumpeter Swans are fairly uncommon in Franklin County at any time of the year, but more-so right now as the swans are settling on nests.