February 23-24, 2017 – While on a visit to Southern Illinois this past week I came across over 30 beautiful Bonaparte’s gulls in their winter plumage fishing in the Kaskaskia River at Carlyle in Clinton county. These gulls are small and can be seen over most of North America during the winter but breed in the remote coniferous forest of the high northern latitudes nesting mostly in spruce trees. It was amazing to watch these little gulls, which have been described as more tern like, fly in a tight formation, making quick turns and then hovering and diving head first into the swirling waters below the rapids. When a small fish was caught the gull would fly up and away from the action and quickly swallow the catch but would get right back to the business of fishing in less then five seconds. At recently as January 20th over 800 were reported on Carlyle Lake.