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The Mew Gull put on quite a hide-and-seek show on Saturday and Sunday, 
April 19 and 20 at Smithville Lake. However, Doug Willis was up to the game.

Saturday morning I missed the bird at Little Platte Marina by about 5 minutes. 
Yes, 5 minutes! I tried for it again Saturday evening from 5:00-8:30 to no 
avail. While I didn’t find the bird, I did find time—time to get to know fellow 
birders as the sun set in the west and the full moon rose up over the lake in 
the east. Ah, the ambience…!

It *appeared* that Sunday morning would end the same way Saturday did—
good times but no Mew Gull…….

 
Sunday’s story

Birders were at Little Platte Marina well before 7:00 a.m. At around 7:30 a.m. 
after not finding the Mew Gull, Doug Willis left to search the lake.  Meanwhile, 
Joe Eades, David Easterla, Jack Hilsabeck and I hung around Little Platte. 
Enjoyable and learned company, to say the least. Finding no Mew Gull and 
hearing no news from Doug after an hour or so, we left to either head home or 
search in other places. About 10 minutes later my phone rings. Could it be 
good news?? It was Doug and he had the bird in his SCOPE view at access 15. 
Two words for you: “skid marks.” (on the pavement...)

I’m speeding now and making cell phone calls at the same time; birding on the 
edge. I round up Easterla & Hilsabeck along J Hwy and we arrive at public 
access # 15 in short time. We hike through the field to the lake with Doug. 
Bird has now flown from scope view. Go figure! We watch the log the Mew Gull 
had been resting on and the surrounding area carefully for 45 minutes. We are 
about to leave and search elsewhere when the Columbia contingent emerges 
through the cornstubble field--seemingly out of nowhere (a little muddy mind 
you). Joyce and Mike Bathke, Anne Downing, Jean Leonatti, and Jonathan 
Pons round out the crew. We’re all meetin’ and greetin’ and settin’ up scopes 
and then someone says, “Here comes a bird.” We all turn our bins, en masse, 
to the log and VOILA, the gull makes a grand entrance down onto the log, 
seen at the same time by most everyone. Couldn’t have scripted it any better. 
Jumping and hooping and hollering ensued. Hugs, too. Then it was time to take 
turns studying field marks through the scopes. Linda Williams arrived to take 
more pictures. What great pictures and invaluable side-by-side comparisons 
she has posted to her website. 

Thanks to Doug for refinding the Mew Gull and to all the delightful people 
involved in the event. I will always remember it. 

Laura Gilchrist
Kansas City, MO
Platte County
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/