Susquehanna River delivers a LITTLE GULL…#698!

The Susquehanna River has been hosting several rare Little Gulls (code 3) this winter but I’ll admit, I am not super confident in my gull identifications. Besides, the Susquehanna isn’t exactly a creek! The fact that thousands of other similar looking gulls (specifically, Bonaparte’s Gulls), are frequenting the same stretch of the river near Lancaster, had discouraged me from even trying to locate our smallest North American gull the past two months.

However, three consecutive daily RBA (rare bird alert) texts informing birders of a Little Gull localizing between the bridges in Wrightstown, motivated me to try this afternoon.
I banked some credit this morning and vacuumed and mopped all of the floors around the myriad of boxes cluttering our 5-day new residence in Manayunk…..before suggesting a journey to the Susquehanna River. It worked!

As soon as I reached the John Wright restaurant parking area on the shore between the two bridges, I set up my new Swarovski scope within speaking distance of a young fellow intently staring through a much more impressive optic set-up than mine. I spent ten minutes scanning the vast river, trying to find the one white bird with a black underwing. Nothing. I was experiencing a competitive birder’s dilemma. Keep searching on my own….or ask the guy next to me for help. I chose the latter.

“Sure, I’m on it now, straight out about half a mile”, he stated matter-of-factly. I thanked him and fumbled for my camera which was twisted around my binoculars – both dangling and clanging against my tripod. The bird floated downstream with hundreds of its identical cousins until a certain point whereby it flew back in the reverse direction. Its rounded gray wings, edged in white, contrasted brightly with the opposite black underwing. There was no doubt…#698!

Rounded gray outer wing edged with white and diagnostic black underwing

Rounded gray outer wing edged with white and diagnostic black underwing

Little Gull (Wrightsville, Pa)

Little Gull (Wrightsville, Pa)

About George C. Wood

A birder since age ten, but not necessarily an avid "lister", I am closing in on 700 (*800!) species seen in North America.....hoping to capture each sighting with my camera.
This entry was posted in Quest for 700 (*800!). Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Susquehanna River delivers a LITTLE GULL…#698!

  1. ANNE WOOD says:

    Do you have photos of all the last 98 birds? or all the previous 600? Are some identified by voice only?

  2. Glass, Dennis says:


    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Nina says:

    Party prep is in process!!

  4. Marv says:

    Amazing, again! House looks great.

  5. Bob Roche says:

    Congrats Cappy! Only 2 more to go.

    All the best.

    Bob Roche 484-802-3648


  6. Jeffrey Dingle says:

    Great to catch up with you last week. I want to see the ‘Peregrines of Manayunk”.

    Two to go!!

    Any predictions on what will be 699? . . .


  7. dr j says:

    correct diagnosis jorge’, sine qua non

  8. Tom Mason says:

    At the rate you’re going, you might get the 700th in the Greater Philly region … way to go, George!

  9. Tempted to chase the common crane in Nebraska….but if I did, I’d know I’m crazy.

  10. Jim Buck says:

    Funny, I found my “little gull” out near Wrightstown, too! (Lin grew up near there. Crossed those bridges, the old one and the new one, many times while heading out to visit with her folks.) Congratulations! Also kudos for asking directions, Woody, as I hear that has not been men’s strong suit, traditionally. :))

  11. Cheers Jimbo. Isn’t that neat…I was told by another birder that the barely visible third bridge (remnants) are from Civil War times when it was destroyed. And yes….tough to ask for help, but wise move.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s