Lesser Black-backed Gull

In Ohio, Lesser Black-backed Gulls are considered "very uncommon migrant[s] and winter resident[s] on Lake Erie; very rare migrant[s] inland," though the species "seems to be gradually increasing," according to the 2008 edition of the Ohio Bird Records Committee Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Ohio. The first Ohio record is from 1977 in Cleveland, and it hasn't not been that many years since the species began its invasion of North America. It will likely become a North American breeder, if it hasn't already done so. This fall I've seen single adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Huron over Thanksgiving weekend and on the Sandusky Bay on December 13. There have been a number of other Ohio reports this fall as well. For some reason, I didn't even bother reporting the birds I found over the past month. Lesser Black-backeds also wander well south of the lake, and there are a number of recent records from Southwestern Ohio. The first Lesser Black-backed Gull I saw was one that Hank Armstrong found one summer at East Fork Lake State Park.

A good and/or lucky birder can sometimes find other unusual, rare, and interesting gulls in the large winter flocks along Lake Erie and occasionally at inland locations. Perhaps there's a Thayer's, Iceland, or Sabine's Gull in this flock, in addition to the Lesser Black-backed? Maybe at least a nice frosty-winged first-cycle Glaucous. ("Click" on the image to get a better view of this flock for closer scrutiny). There don't seem to be any Great Black-backed Gulls here, but one assumes there are a few close by.

(Triptych: Lesser Black-backed Gull)