Just jumping forwards a bit from the sequence of blog posts regarding our recent trip to Texas and going back to the first species I posted about briefly.
On February 19th we ‘went’ for a Slaty-backed Gull at Lake Casa Blanca http://goo.gl/maps/HQvqZ but dipped, having got there about 20 minutes too late. As we were stopping around 45 miles away in Zapata and intending to look there for White-collared Seedeater the next day before heading back to Houston, we had a decision to make. Thankfully we chose right.
Early the next day we were somewhere on the Rio Grande in downtown Laredo and found a Seedeater easily enough. Then we headed to the lake where the sun was low and blasting at us so we went around the lake to the boat ramp and, within 40 seconds or so, located the adult Slaty-backed Gull that had been present for a while (6th February I think).
The bird did a couple of fly-pasts at range, studiously ignoring the raft of potato chips we’d baited with, still the American Coots seemed to enjoy them. It gave excellent views and it is hard to see quite why there was the need to doubt the ID, it seemed pretty clear-cut to me. We watched the bird for some time as it actively harassed a feeding Double-crested Cormorant. We left the spot for a ten minute look around from the car and then checked back hoping it would be sat on its buoy but it had moved off, probably to the nearby landfill to feed.
Below are the best shots I got. I’d have liked a closer upperwing but it didn’t oblige. After seeing a first-year bird in Québec a few years ago it was good to finally see an adult, a splendid gull indeed.