Rare swallow-tailed gull spotted in Edmonds

By Brian Soergel | Sep 14, 2017
Courtesy of: Stephen Shunk Stephen Shunk shot this picture recently in Edmonds of a rare swallow-tailed gull (above), with a California gull (left) and Heermann's gull below it.

In a happy coincidence, Edmonds could well be the center of the birding community in the country this weekend.

No, it’s not due to the 13th annual Puget Sound Bird Festival Friday through Sunday, though that helps.

It just so happens that bird watchers are beside themselves with an appearance of a rare swallow-tailed gull. It was first spotted at Carkeek Park in Seattle; it then moved up to Point Wells, just south of Woodway.

But it appears Edmonds is the gull’s favorite spot, if Facebook posts are any indication.

Stephen Shunk, the keynote speaker on Friday, Sept. 15, at the Edmonds festival, said he recently made a trip from his Oregon home to check it out.

Shunk said the gull’s appearance is only the third time that particular species has been spotted in North America. The equatorial seabird’s main breeding ground is in the Galapagos Islands; Shunk said recent hurricanes in the Pacific could have pushed the bird north.

“Most folks are seeing it in Edmonds, mixed in with all the hundreds of gulls up there regularly,” Shunk said. “People have flown in from the other side of the country to see this bird.”






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