We rotated through Hurley hospital in the down-trodden section of Flint during residency and I still can't believe that 10 or so years later an Ivory Gull, of all things, is still hanging out maybe 2 miles away. I've never been outside that long in that area and not heard gunshots, probably the combination of it being 17 degrees out and the insulating effects of the U of M Flint campus where it was found. I'm going to forgo the obvious Flint water jokes (they were actually fine before they started piping in water to avoid having to purify the river water) and bask in my second ever Ivory Gull.
Is that bill sweet or what.
We drove up and arrived at 8:30 on Satuday to find out that an eagle had flushed it about 30 minutes before. We hung out where it had been, walked a few miles up and down the river, scoped an up-stream reservoir, and eventually left after about 4 hypothermia-inducing hours. We were 45 minutes down the highway when it was posted as being re-found. I thought it was too late at first as I had to work at 6pm, but we did the math and figured if we turned around immediately we'd have 30 minutes with the bird. It was a good 30 minutes.
We saw it take flight within minutes of arriving.
It then settled down in a sheltered corner next to the sidewalk and, paying no mind to the gathering herd of 2 legged caribou whose dominant vocalization appeared to be a constant low-level barrage of click, Clic-Clic-Clic, clickclickclickclickclickclick, slick-slick, CLICK shutter fire, started bathing and preening.
It would use its bill to shovel water down either shoulder.
Fluffing its feathers revealed a nice study in how birds fold their wings.
One last portrait of an incredible bird...