It is Tuesday night and there is not a single post on Ontbirds regarding the Ivory Gull seen on Monday. If it had flown onto the ice even a few minutes later, or descended to land mere yards away, it may have gone unobserved by its original finders, who had identified all they could see and whose departure was imminent. But a small white bird caught the attention of these two birdwatchers, hearts soon pounding as they realized the significance of their find. Photos are taken for the record books and within minutes, a report goes out across a listserv at the touch of a few buttons, an obscenely convenient network connecting hundreds; hundreds immediately aware of a rarity minutes ago a distant thought. The thrill of the hunt ensues as a few dedicated enthusiasts and listers dash to the lakeshore, hoping for a glimpse of this special visitor. It is not to be. This will be a brief encounter, witnessed by two individuals favored by fortune. The gull departs. This visitor, unaware of its celebrity, is searched for in vain by each subsequent arrival, unaware of the interest they themselves create as they scan with scopes and binoculars in the bitter wind and waning light. As the sky darkens, so do the spirits of the watchers. Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls will have to suffice this night. The Ivory Gull continues westward, snow-white feathers veiled by the night, a phantom flying unseen.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Mark and I scan for the Ivory Gull at Cherry Beach, Toronto
Photo courtesy of Lynne Freeman
failing light - no miracle tonight – this rare visitor avoids my gaze like she has once before – this heavenly form – this delicate winter-white angel – an ephemeral rest on the lakeshore – a brief appointment yielding disappointment – the shelves of ice carry a congregation – black backed, great and lesser, ring billed iceland glaucous herring – but despite my silent prayer – she is no longer here – yet still my eyes rise skyward - for I cannot bear to miss her once more
Yes. At 3:58pm today, while birding Colonel Sam Smith Park with Mark Field, a report of an Ivory Gull was posted for Cherry Beach, Toronto (an ADULT Ivory Gull no less). Bless the
There's still hope this bird will stay. There will certainly be a lot of eyes looking out for it throughout the week and I can assure you I'll be checking out the postings on Ontbirds frequently. I'll add here that although the end of the weekend held the slight disappointment of missing the Ivory, I still had two great days of birding on Sunday and today. I'll be posting full day lists/counts for the days within the week.