Lake Mead Sabine’s Gull, September 20, 2015

It’s not quite the view of that fine specimen I was privileged to see in Phoenix a month ago, but I finally found the Sabine’s Gull I’d been searching for on Lake Mead, an hour from Las Vegas, Nevada.

I stopped over at 33 Hole, a “scenic view” on the shore of Lake Mead, midday today. Scoping from the parking area I spotted a distant small gull with a mix of birds down below the delta of Las Vegas Wash, far below the surface of the former Las Vegas Bay. Walking the kilometer down to the shore I was rewarded with distant looks of this juvenile Sabine’s Gull.

I never got closer than a few hundred meters from the bird, but thankfully for me the SAGU briefly flapped its wings, hopped a short distance on the water, and gave this clear glimpse of its identity. I spent an hour and a half and never got closer than this. Still a gorgeous bird!

Sabine’s Gulls are not unexpected in this area during the fall, but the lack of many birders in the Las Vegas region has resulted in few detections over the years and eBird shows the most recent detection from 2007! My sources downstream tell me they haven’t had any SAGU yet this fall, so maybe the migration of these (and hopefully other cool seabirds) is delayed this year and we have more excitement in store for October!

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