Sabine's Gull - Vorkstaartmeeuw

Sabine's Gull


Larus sabini

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk


November/December 2000, Nieuwkoop/Aarlanderveen ZH

September 2001, Brouwersdam Ze


November/December 2000, Nieuwkoop/Aarlanderveen ZH

Imagine your surprise when you are birding in the Dutch lowlands looking for the first wintering Whooper Swans and you stumble upon a Sabine's Gull!
This is what happened to Bertus de Lange on a nice and sunny friday morning in November 2000. A mobile phone not being available, he had to rush off to a colleague-birder close-by to spread the news. Soon many birders came to enjoy this beautiful and confiding bird. Here are some videograbs I took, but better pictures are also available on the  Dutch Birding web site.
The first two pictures were taken much later, exactly a month after the day of the bird's discovery. Here you can see that the bird has already started to moult its mantle feathers: some fresh grey feathers are visible here.

Sabine's Gull  -  Vorkstaartmeeuw  Larus sabini   juvenile moulting to first-winter;  videograbs (20x), contrast slightly enhanced.
near Nieuwkoop ZH, The Netherlands, 3 December 2000.


  Sabine's Gull  -  Vorkstaartmeeuw  Larus sabini   juvenile;  videograbs (32x & 10x), contrast slightly enhanced.
  Near Nieuwkoop ZH, The Netherlands, 3 November 2000.


September 2001, Brouwersdam Ze

Finally an adult!
Sabine's Gulls are rare but yearly in The Netherlands. They usually turn up during or shortly after NW-storms. A seawatch during such a spell in October often produces one or more Sabine's Gulls. But they are (nearly) always juvenile birds. September or even late August proves to give a relatively higher chance of seeing adult birds. This is what happened after a number of days with strong NW-winds in early September 2001. Many sightings of young birds along the coast (and even here and there inland) were overshadowed by a splendid adult that turned up along the Brouwersdam in the SW. Here also another specialty of NW-storms was present, a Grey Phalarope.

  Sabine's Gull  -  Vorkstaartmeeuw  Larus sabini   adult;  videograbs (320x). Brouwersdam Ze, The Netherlands,
  15 September 2001.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2001