Well after yesterday's Painted Redstart chase I really needed to stay home and get some stuff done. Then the darn Whatsapp dinged again. It's been dinging a lot lately with spring migration going on and lots of birders in the Rio Grande Valley finding some pretty good stuff. But this ding was different. This was a mega! Alex Lamoreaux leading a tour had just found a Kelp Gull at the Brownsville landfill. Kelp Gull is a common coastal species of the Southern Hemisphere. I have seen them on the coast of Ecuador and I saw the first Texas record at Galveston in 1996. There are five previosly accepted Texas records, thought to be of only two individuals, and the last was in 2008. So I loaded up the car and headed out one more time.
When I arrived at the top of the garbage hill, there was Brad McKinney, Father Tom and the St. Pierres waiting at the spot where Alex had gotten killer photos of the Kelp Gull. Thousands of Laughing Gulls swirled and screamed with lesser numbers of Franklin's, Herring and Ring-billed Gulls as an endless stream of noisy garbage trucks passed by to dump their morning haul. Then Mary Beth Stowe and company arrived and we all watched common gulls for a while and hoped for a big one with a black mantle.
After a while Mary Beth and her group left but they stopped just a bit down the hill and darned if they didn't find the Kelp Gull far down below on a retention pond. Some of us scrambled down to the botton of the big dirt and garbage hill where we got a little bit better views. After congratulations everyone but me left and I was rewarded with the Kelp Gull flying back to the top of the hill where I got much better photos. This Kelp Gull is my 424th species for Cameron County.