[TN-Bird] Percy Priest gull numbers continue

  • From: "Scott Somershoe" <Scott.Somershoe@xxxxxx>
  • To: <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 20:09:38 -0600

Ed Schneider and I birded around Percy Priest Lake this afternoon.  No sign of 
the Eared Grebe (apparently it was seen this morning) or scoters.  Not much 
seen from Anderson Rd or Hamilton Creek other than 3 completely white rock 
pigeon sized pigeons flying around.  Maybe there was a wedding today.  Really 

We found about 2000 Bonaparte's Gulls at the dam along with ~1250 Ring-billed 
Gulls.  35 Great Blue Herons were flying around at once by the rookery at 
Nashville Shores.  Not sure what was going on over there, but they settled in 
on the nests.

I finished the day at Cook Public Area try see about gull numbers.  I had at 
least 173 Common Loons, many up close.  There were only ~10,000 gulls seen 
until 5 pm when they showed up in mass from out of nowhere.  There are 3 
roosting areas around Cook, but none very close.  In the end, there was a flock 
of about 17,000 ring-billeds out in the middle of the lake.  These birds got up 
all at once and it was mind boggling.  The direction they were flying at once 
completely filled my binoc field of view (7-8 times over) from at least a half 
mile.  A separate group of ~10,000 gulls flew by being led by about 3500 
Bonaparte's Gulls.  To the south of Cook and closer to Seven Points Rec Area 
campground there was a roost of a few thousand ring-billeds as well.  

In the end, I decided on 3500 Bonaparte's, 23,000 Ring-billed Gulls, 1 imm 
Herring Gull.  This is probably a little conservative. I don't know that all 
the birds we saw at the dam came down to these roosts, but I saw groups coming 
south and think they did.  

The ducks came to roost close to Seven Points. I tallied at least 86 
Bufflehead, 19 Common Goldeneye, 5 Hooded Mergansers, and 49 Horned Grebes.  
Small groups of bufflehead and goldeneye coming in from all directions until it 
was dark for me to make a species ID.

At dusk, I whistled for a screech owl in a reliable spot and within a minute I 
had a taker.  Nice way to end a gull-filled day.

Great birding!
Scott Somershoe

State Ornithologist
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
P.O. Box 40747
Nashville, TN 37204
615-781-6653 (o)
601-868-0101 (cell)
615-781-6654 (fax)

"Keeping the rubber side down." -SGS
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  • » [TN-Bird] Percy Priest gull numbers continue - Scott Somershoe