There's been quite the huzz-buzz lately in New Hampshire over a bird which we nerds refer to as a Common Gull which is not that "common". Rather, this bird, if accepted by the NH Records Committee will be the first accepted state record.
There are other records for the state but none which follow the state rules for documentation of a first state record. That is, in order for a bird to be accepted for the first time there either must be adequate photo documentation or 3+ observers.
The bird which has been hanging out in Exeter fulfills both of these requirements.
So why do so many people care about a little sea-gull? What makes this Common Gull so special? Well, here's my attempt to answer that in just 3 short points:
1. Its a vagrant from far away - the Common Gull is really a subspecies of Mew Gull from "Europe" which is pretty interesting and pretty cool.
2. Its a first documented state record - anytime something is a first it's exciting - just think of being there for Jon Lester's first game, or for your child's first word, etc.
3. When a bird looks pretty generic superficially the challenge can be exciting. Just think - do you prefer the puzzle with 4 pieces or with 400 pieces? Which is more exciting and fun to complete? This gull is much the same way - it's not a straightforward identification, rather its an interesting puzzle where multiple field marks have to be assessed and analyzed - and when you do your homework and get all of the pieces in order - you realize the puzzle design is pretty neat.
OK that's all for now - if you're interested in more about Common Gull identification perhaps I'll post some more some other time. Otherwise I'll continue on with the random spring posting.