Friday, April 3, 2009

A Gull of a day

These photos were taken at Brierly Pond in Millbury this past Sunday. It was raining out so outdoor birding was out of the question so I got my fix in my car. I used this as an opportunity to practice on my flight shots and get some first hand experience on how to identify gulls which has always been a problem of mine. In the past, a gull was a gull. In fact, up until a couple of months ago I thought they were called seagulls and couldn't understand why we had so many of them in our area if they were supposed to live on the beach! HA! Anyhow, I really have a thing for gulls now and search for them everytime I am at mall parking lots or Burger Kings! ;o)

Anyhow, play along with me. If I am wrong, please let me know because there will be a good chance that I am. The gull above is an adult Ring Billed Gull??
I cannot tell what this one is due to the fact that I can't see its bill. I was just happy to get it in flight and not glaringly white. FYI, if you ever want to photograph gulls try it when it's raining with no sun. I am telling the white won't look as washed out for some reason!
Okay, now for a tough one. My answer is.......A first year (or first winter as the serious bird nerd would call it) Herring Gull. You would think by now it would be toilet trained. Just look at the mess it left on the rock. It certainly makes you think twice before swimming in a pond doesn't it?

This one is like my final Jeopardy question here. It's a tough one so I will wager nothing. The one to the left is a third year Herring Gull. The one to the right of it is a second year Ring Billed Gull. The one in the water cannot be identified!

An adult Ring Billed Gull. This is a great looking gull. I know gulls get a bad rap because they are filthy and can be annoying when you are trying to eat fries at the beach, but they sure are pretty cool birds if you take the time to study them.

I cannot identify the one on the left, but the one on the rock is a first year Ring Billed Gull and yes that's my final answer!

Now you don't seriously think I am going to try this one do you???? I just wanted to show you the number of gulls who hang out on this small pond. The fellow birder who taught me some new things this past weekend told me this was a good place to go to observe gulls and try and determine their age. It was actually a lot of fun and made me appreciate this common bird even more. Yes I sometimes get caught up in my life list and will overlook the common birds because I see them so much but do I really?

Many of us get caught up in the common birding rut and long to see more to reach our list goal, but we can appreciate the common birds we see in between. The Mallard Duck grooming its feathers, the Blue Jay crooning in the tree and the gull crapping on the rock. ;o)


Shellmo said...

I am definitely an idiot when it comes to gull identification! Loved your photos!

Leedra said...

My husband says "they are just gulls", but I am slowly teaching him to look closer to see which kind of gull. Plus the Terns are not gulls, which until this year he thought they were too. Lovely post, enjoyed it.

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Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gulls to me also... I love ALL of your pictures--but don't have a clue what specific gull each is!!!!

I agree about the 'common' birds. I've seen Robins all of my life--and have paid no attention to them. Now I find them very pretty.


Andy said...

Lots of Ring-billed Gulls and I never really paid much attention to juvenile gulls.

The Early Birder said...

Well done Kim, very informative & your knowledge is growing quickly. I'm no expert but believe 2nd pic is adult Ring-billed: all white tail, wing pattern shows limited black with small white 'mirror' at the tip.
I'm out with a 'gull' expert tomorrow so maybee I'll learn something!

Mary said...

I'm not good with gulls....don't see enough of them and when it gets to details like first year or second year.....I pass!

Amy said...

I'm not so brave with gulls - yet! Kudos to you for sorting out your gulls. I'm still scared of them, lol!


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