I would only make one slight correction to Laura's narrative ---  Linda
Williams was not present, nor did she get photos of the bird we watched fly
in and were all hooping and hollering about.  That bird eventually flew
around the bend again;  and later another bird returned and landed directly
behind a Ring-billed Gull.  There was some speculation it might be the Mew
Gull returning for the third time; but no one could get a definitive view of
it because of its position relative to the other gulls.  Jonathan went
around the corner to try to get photos of the second bird;  we started back
up toward the car, and met Linda Williams on the way down the hill.  On
Sunday, she only got photos of the "hidden" second gull which indeed turned
out to be a Ring-billed - her photos on Sunday were not of the earlier
sighting that all present (better gullers than me included) felt was the Mew

Regarding the muddy appearance of one Columbia birder --- well, let's just
say in the her haste to get down to the lake, "someone" had a hidden piece
of barb wire fencing reach up and grab her pant leg and flipped her
unceremoniously face-first, spread-eagle onto the muddy corn field.  A
rather rude baptism for my brand new binoculars out on their first chase!
Bounced up and kept on going.  
Jean Leonatti
Boone County
Columbia, MO
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-----Original Message-----
From: Missouri Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Laura Gilchrist
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 9:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Weekend Mewsings

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
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
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
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
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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