They claim to ‘See’ gull!

Fly by! Birders flock to Coney to see unique gull
Photo by Olaf Soltau

Coney Island’s elusive gray-hooded gull may have dropped down in Canarsie.

Two Bay News readers say they spotted the elusive gray-hooded gull near Jamaica Bay this week after birders lost its trail off the Coney Island Boardwalk two weeks ago.

Canarsie resident Linda Cross believes the bird landed in her 108th Street building’s courtyard near Avenue J last Wednesday morning at 7:15 am, when she fed it breakfast.

“I throw the bread out in the middle of the complex and it was eating the bread with other little birds and pigeons,” said Cross. “Then, I didn’t see him in the rest of the day.”

And on Sunday, Richmond Hill resident Jillian Mulvihill noticed an unusual shorebird on a small island near Canarsie while she was on a wildlife boat tour of Jamaica Bay.

“One of the tour guides said, ‘Look over there, there’s a very rare gray-hooded gull!’” said Mulvihill. “She said, ‘It looks like a bird in a tuxedo smoking a carrot.’ ”

The mysterious gull, boasting gray markings on its throat, red feet, and a yellow eye, made headlines last month after a birder identified it near an outdoor shower near W. 15th Street and sent a photograph to several ornithological websites.

Birders from throughout the east coast flocked to Coney Island to witness the immigrant gull playing with scores of Brooklyn seagulls for several days until the bird disappeared.

“It seems to have vanished,” said ornithologist doctoral student Morgan Tingsley. “There have been no reports.”

An Audubon Society official confirmed the wild bird’s identity as a gray-hooded gull and guessed that it likely came from Chile, Argentina or South Africa, but could not be sure whether it traveled on a cargo ship or flew here on its own.

“It is pretty typical for rare birds to only linger for a short time,” said New York City Audubon Society director Glenn Phillips.

There have been several alleged sightings of the elusive bird in recent weeks.

Three readers of the Courier and BrooklynDaily.com have sent blurry, bigfoot-esque photos of what they believed to be the missing gull, but due to the poor quality of the images, we can not confirm if the bird photoed is the real thing. In fact, the photos are so bad, we won’t even print them or put them online.

But Cross thinks the gull she saw is the right one.

“I just hope I find it tomorrow,” said Cross, even though she does fear that if her bird is the rare one, she might find some unwanted visitors in her yard. “Don’t even tell me I’m going to wake up to photographers.”