No one doubted the identification. But a couple of people wondered how the gull got here. If it escaped from a zoo, or somebody brought it up in a cage, or it hitchhiked a ride on a ship, it might well have been disqualified.
"You have a pretty stringent voting process," Davis says. "If something gets through the committee, there's a pretty good likelihood that it is what it claimed to be."
As it turned out, Shrimpy was accepted 9-0.
"When I found it, there was no North American guide that had the kelp gull in it," Craig says. Now it's described in The Sibley Guide to Birds and there's a tiny dot on one of the book's North American maps.
"That little green spot," she says. "It's hard to see. But it's our little Shrimpy."
She thinks Shrimpy's something over 10 years old now. It was mature and thus over 4 years old when she first sighted it. Gulls can live to be 30, sometimes older.
Shrimpy hangs around the Sea Breeze most of the year. For a couple of months in spring, during the breeding season, it leaves the Patuxent with the rest of the gulls. Where they go and what Shrimpy does, no one quite knows.
"Usually, they breed where people can't get to them," Davis says. "Like out on islands, typically in the [Chesapeake] bay, or out in the offshore barrier islands."
Shrimpy has only once been reported sighted away from the Sea Breeze.
"We've never really found out where it roosts at night," Davis says. "One person says he thinks he saw it come to the [Chalk Point] power plant one night."
Shrimpy's diving down on a herring gull now and they sweep out of sight over the river, disappearing dots in the distance, and the doughty, displaced kelp gull is gone for the day.