Subject: LI Birds: Gulls feeding on ant swarms
From: Shaibal Mitra
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011 02:16:47 +0000

While driving home along the Belt Parkway this evening I saw at least seven
large swarms of gulls (mostly Laughing Gulls, but also many Ring-billed and and
a few Herring), apparently feeding on flying ants. This phenomenon is expected
at this time of year in coastal Long Island, e.g.,

--but it is still very interesting, for instance, how do different colonies
come to swarm at precisely the same time?

The swarms I saw tonight were at Plumb Beach, east of Gerritsen Inlet,
Paerdegat Inlet, Pennsylvania Ave., Erskine St., and two sites in South Ozone

I've posted a photo of an ant from a similar mass-swarming event along the Long
Island shore a couple of years ago at:

Shai Mitra
Bay Shore

Date: Fri Sep 9 2016 4:04 am

I'll believe they are are citronella ants which frequently swarm in large numbers on warm Autumn days. People often mistake them for termites.
Patricia Manzi

> On Sep 8, 2016, at 10:55 PM, Shaibal Mitra  wrote:

> Hi Brendan,

> I saw two groups of gulls feeding on flying ants in Brooklyn yesterday evening (7 Sep), at Plumb Beach at 7:10 and at Spring Creek Park at 7:20. 
  Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls usually predominate in these events, with Common Terns and Herring Gulls also participating sometimes. 
  The emergences tend to be around this time, but it's interesting how synchronized they are within a given year.

> Here's a photo of from 2009. An entomologist friend of mine once identified the species involved, but I can't remember.


> Shai Mitra
> ________________________________________

> From: [] on behalf of Brendan Fogarty []

> Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2016 8:04 PM
> The most interesting experience was a sudden vortex of Laughing Gulls that formed over the Nickerson ballfields around 6:45pm. 
  Roughly 300 gulls and some terns were feeding on a fairly dense emergence of small, termite-like winged insects. 
  And over the dunes at anchor around 100 Common Terns and a few Laughing Gulls were performing a similar stunt. 
  Larids flycatching is very entertaining to watch.