A rare Arctic gull caught slacking this weekend in a Coastside Brussels sprout field met an untimely demise in a brief aerial battle initiated by a pair of Peregrine Falcons more interested in a big lunch than a Big Year (Photo courtesy Clive Beavis).
Birders on the scene say it was the second ever verified sighting of a Ross’s gull in California. The dove-like species, whose summer colors include a pinkish breast and bright red legs, rarely ventures below the Arctic Circle.
The sighting drew dozens of excited birders, many with binoculars and telephoto lenses, to the shoulder of Highway 1 between the waterlogged field just south of Moss Beach and the Half Moon Bay Airport. The falcons dropped the curtain on the show in abrupt and dramatic fashion.
Ironically, area birders say the falcon couple may have included a bird who was rescued by a surfer last year from a nearly disastrous water landing and nursed back to health before being released back into Coastside territory.