One of the rarest birds to be found in North America settled in on the Edmonds marina breakwater Thursday morning at 8 a.m. It has returned Friday morning.
Somehow one bird found its way north and entered Puget Sound. It was first seen by a birder at Seattle’s Carkeek Park last Thursday. Since then it has been seen at Point Wells, just south of Edmonds, and at the Everett waterfront. We can now claim it as an Edmonds visitor.
Birders have been traveling from all over North America to see this gull.The Swallow-tailed Gull has a shortened version of a Barn Swallow’s tail when seen in flight. It has reddish legs, a black hood, red orbital rings that really can stand out against the black, a white saddle at the base of the bill, and solid black on the tips of its wings. Its darkish-gray mantle extends about halfway out its wings.
It is the only fully nocturnal gull or seabird in the world. It feeds on squid and small fish at night and rests during the day. It will probably remain among the Heermann’s Gulls on the marina breakwater until it leaves to feed Thursday evening. Where it will rest Friday is anyone’s guess. Pierce County birders are hoping that it will follow squid south and end up in their waters.
If you were on the waterfront Thursday, you may have seen many visitors with binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras. This will continue as long as the Swallow-tailed Gull continues to rest on the breakwater.
— By Carol Riddell