Friday, January 14, 2022

Trash to treasure..

I did very little of anything the first week of the year, we had weather issues, a wind storm blew a tree on my fence I had to saw that off and have been burning it in the fireplace...there is still a lot of it on the other side of the fence to deal with....but after a week of reading about a Rare Sea Gull being at the Horry County Landfill   last Friday, I decided to go at the very last minute.
Stuffed some food in a bag and away we go....
I arrived at my location sort of late, since I really had not planned this trip I literally just said IM going and 10 minutes later I was behind the wheel.  2 hrs later I was in Conway. 

Passed this cool mural in their downtown historic district...snapped a photo when I had to do a U-turn'; Wilma sent me wrong!! 

This landfill is HUGE you could get lost in it....I went up to the little house at the entry and drove up and said, "Im here to see the bird."  The lady said "just drive straight up that road"...

                               There was just  a few MILLION gulls there...omg

I had hoped to drive up and see a line of birders with scopes set up and they would point me right to the bird....BUT that didn't happen right away. So I drove aimlessly around and found other birds.   Like the Lesser one area where there was some ponds...

There was Bald Eagles in various stage of maturity...

But mostly it was GULLS...

Ring Billed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Herring Gulls, Lesser and Great Black Backed Gulls 

An immature or female Herring Gull

And an almost Breeding Male Herring Gull 

Mostly Laughing Gulls 

Mostly Ring-Billed Gulls

Great Black Black Gull 

Lesser Black Backed Gull 

AND the star of the SHOW the Slaty-Backed Gull...a mostly Asian Species which ranges from Japan to Coastal Russia, Alaska and sometimes North America!  Found by a birder named Chris Hill on New Years Day ...AND thanks to a tip from one of the Landfill employees he pointed me up the right hill where he had seen other birders looking all week...and then I did run into a birder from Atlanta, and he pointed out the gull...this is how co-operation works. 

Not as big as the Black Backed but very similar...with a crescent shaped white on the wing tips...this is a non breeding male, and once he is a breeding male his head neck and chest will be solid white.  He has bubble gum pink legs and an orange spot on the lower bill...much like a California Gull...with pink legs. 

Good to get something positive...
And it's a four hour drive round trip so it fell within my planned Twitching Zone!

Every day is a new Adventure.


  1. Landfill sites are a magnet for gulls, but the downside is that they can get botulism from the rubbish and die. Our landfill sites are diminishing as there is a lot of recycling and other waste is incinerated.
    I find gulls very hard to identify without my book, its remembering the different features for each species.
    Very cold here, well for us anyway, at the moment, but at least its dry.

    Have a good week and all the best.

    1. Hi Dave the USA has done a very poor job of recycling waste and dealing with it as a whole! Its lack of regulation, which is a political talking point as you know. There's more gulls there than I saw at the beach for sure in fact I saw few gulls at the beach back in Nov when I was there. Gulls are very hard to ID as they go through the changes of the first 3 to 4 yrs to adulthood...We may get a winter storm this weekend...I hope not! Stay warm...and be well.

  2. Hello Sondra,
    Congrats on your sighting. I have trouble id-ing the gulls, some are easy. It is nice someone was able to point this rare gull out for you. Great photos. The gulls do love hanging out at the landfills and parking lots. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy weekend!

    1. Hi Eileen, yes I don't think I would ever have found the gull without some help....birders are good that way about pointing to the Spot last seen! Sure helps out...and the bird was a little bit smaller than I had been expecting, it's hard when it's the first time ever seeing one for sure. I don't see any gulls at our landfill...I used to go and look through them but the past 4 or 5 years I see none. I hope your weekend is A good one!!

  3. Well after having to cut up a downed tree you sure earned that adventure. So happy for you! How wonderful the birding community is that you were shown were to go and look.

    1. Hi Jo, def would never have seen it without the kindness of strangers who are like minded...and this is normally the case of a rare bird, its like a chain being passed from one to the other...I only cut the part of the tree that was in the yard and was able to "patch" the fence that keeps the dogs in the yard, and other dogs out of the yard! The other half of the tree is still on the other side of the fence.
      This weekend we may get ICE...yuk...more trees will break. Hope your weekend is good!!

  4. Great photos. Around my house live many gulls and every morning I feed a couple of them. They are always in time waiting on the roof of a neighboring house. When they see me began to "scream" and are not afraid of my presence.

    1. Hi and thank you, yes I agree gulls are one of the species that will have interaction with humans, one gull at the landfill came and landed right in front of me hoping for a handout I had nothing on me to give him...but I would have tossed him something if I had it, I see people feed the gulls at the shore and it can cause a bit of a stir!

  5. Wow, what a lot of Gulls, very good for practising your ID skills I should think! I'm glad you managed to spot the one you went for, it must have been a bit daunting at first!

    1. Hi Pam, yes at first I thought I had wasted my time making the trip but it was a helpful landfill worker who pointed me to the right hill...which I was very pleased about. Its def a skill sharpener trying to pick thru the subtle differences of the gulls...IT was remarkable to witness the sounds when they flushed...

  6. You are a champion twitcher!! I once started a post on different kinds of gulls I've seen because I think they're interesting even though most people they are all a "just a..." bird. But I got a bit lost on trying to search out pictures and ids etc etc...(I am too lazy to be any good at that kind of post, all the more reason to be grateful to you for the work you put in! Thanks and that was a great sighiting.

    1. Hi Sallie, I must put that on my Gulls are very confusing I totally agree...I find shorebirds almost as taunting a task to get thru especially if others are not nearby to compare them to. Enjoy your week.


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