Little Gull at Presque Isle State Park, Erie County, PA
Little Gulls are not a surprising sight at Presque Isle State Park in late March and early April. In fact, they
are annual migrants that pass through in small numbers with the hordes of Bonaparte's Gulls each spring and fall.
What is unusual is to see Little Gulls at Presque Isle literally at arm's length, in multiple plumages, and at leisure.
Little Gulls are usually seen at a distance over Presque Isle Bay, or perhaps passing Sunset Point, and only very rarely are
they seen better than that. So it was quite surprising when Scott Kinzey discovered adult Little Gulls flying around
the docks in Presque Isle's Marina Bay on March 28, buzzing just a few feet by the local fishermen and Scott himself
as he stood on the docks! And not just one, but four or five Little Gulls!
So on April 1, I could not resist making the trip to Erie to try my hand at photographing these unique birds. Not
only are Little Gulls the world smallest gull species, adults have a rather unusual plumage that features a nearly complete
dark gray underwing outlined by pure white primary and secondary tips. They are certainly unique among North America's
gulls, and a chance to see them up close in Pennsylvania was certainly a special treat. This spring has been one of
the best for Little Gulls at Presque Isle that I can remember, but who knows? Marina Bay at Presque Isle is a relatively
underbirded spot. Perhaps one or two Little Gulls make their way there each season, at least for a day or two...