[midvalleybirds] Re: Great Black-backed Gull at Coffin Butte Landfill north of Corvallis

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Sat Nov 30 14:57:29 PST 2019

Wanted to get that off quickly, here's a little more ... 

I should have noted, the Great Black-backed Gull looked like a 3rd-cycle bird. 

Other gulls in the flock besides Glaucous-winged x Western Gulls included a few fairly "pure" Glaucous-winged, a few candidates for "Thayers" (Iceland) and maybe a Western too, plus Ring-billed and California. No doubt some Herrings in there too if someone wanted to spend time on the flock. 

Coffin Butte itself was very quiet up top, just a few Varied Thrush, Steller's Jays, flickers and ravens. Back in the parking area, two White-throated Sparrows (an adult tan morph and a first-winter bird) were foraging in the gravel with the Golden-crowned Sparrows and Song Sparrows. 

Access to the Coffin Butte Trail, like the rest of E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, requires an ODFW parking permit if you go there by car (either an annual parking permit which also works for Summer Lake, Denman etc. or a day pass which you can get from the headquarters when it's staffed). 

This site has gotten some attention from big-game hunters this fall so it's a good idea to wear orange while hiking there. 

The parking area is on the west side of Hwy 99W just north of the landfill (midway between Monmouth and Corvallis). You'll see an ODFW signboard when you pull in. The "best" view of the landfill dumping area is reached by walking straight in along the gravel road from the parking area until you pass an old quarry (cliff-face) on your right, where the trail makes a switchback. Keep walking straight west from this point, until you get to a rock cairn/"rockjack" that with a sign marks the wildlife area boundary. 

From: "clearwater" <clearwater at peak.org> 
To: "Midvalley Birding Midvalley" <birding at midvalleybirding.org> 
Cc: "Oregon Birders OnLine" <obol at freelists.org> 
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2019 2:38:52 PM 
Subject: Great Black-backed Gull at Coffin Butte Landfill north of Corvallis 

Just back from a walk up the Coffin Butte Trail (annex on on the west side of E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area). On my way up the hill I noticed about 500 gulls swirling around in the dumping area of the adjacent landfill, so I went out to the boundary of the wildlife area and scanned the flock from there. 

Looked like the usual winter mix (I'll add more later) but one resting on the geotextile-covered slope jumped out as me as about 15-20% longer in body length compared with the nearby Western x Glaucous-winged mutts. Massive bill, yellowish with black band across the tip. Angular head. Very dark on the mantle but mottled brownish wings below that. 

Didn't have my scope or camera along ... was trying to get some exercise so I finished the hike up the hill quickly and came back. Only about 200 gulls left when I came back down and I didn't see the big guy, but it could have still been there (didn't look real hard). Another 50 or so gulls had moved off to the upper treatment pond for landfill leachate, just off Coffin Butte Rd by the landfill entrance. Others were flying around in the sky, probably starting to head back to their nocturnal roost pretty soon here. 

Joel Geier 
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis 

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