This will be the last of the pictures from Plymouth Beach and are all the gull photos I took including the adorable little Laughing Gull which believe it or not, is a lifer for me. You see, I never paid much attention to gulls until this year. Gulls (called seagulls back then), were funny birds I would see at the beach but that was about it. Fast forward to this year and I am introduced to a whole new species of bird that fascinates me due to how complex identity can be especially when it comes to plumage and age (first year, second year, etc.).
Add to that the spunk and testicular fortitude they have and I am hooked making them my favorite species of bird, second to birds of prey. Yes I still love the warblers, woodpeckers, etc, but I love birds you can watch for long periods of a time and try and figure out what they are thinking. If you watch gulls long enough (just as you can birds of prey), you can start to see the wheels turning in their head which takes birding to a whole new level vs. just going out there and checking birds off your list.
Adult Laughing Gull starting to go into non-breeding plumage.
Same Laughing Gull looking my way as it just hangs out on the beach with the other gulls taking in the sun and fresh air.
A portrait view of this very handsome gull. Love the bill color and the white eye ring.
I also really like the slaty gray back and how it contrasts perfectly with the white on the chest and belly. This birds plumage is so pretty that these gulls were nearly wiped out by plume hunters in the late 19th century. It's nice to see them make a strong comeback due to various conservation and protection efforts.
Closeup of one that looks like Rocky during the final round!
Another view, as you can see it is very fond of shellfish!
Adult Herring Gull flying above some oblivious beach goers as they are frying up burgers on their portable grill (right on the beach mind you!) I should also point out that these folks were fairly close the the incredible Black Skimmers but didn't really even seem to take notice of them. Seriously, non-birders perplex me sometimes recently. How can one not see birds as exotic as that?
Here is a second year Great Black-backed Gull. Thanks for the ID Alan. I spent about 1/2 an hour pouring through various google and Cornell pictures of these gulls and thought it was first year due to the lack of gray on its back. I just ordered the Peterson Guide Gulls of the Americas on Amazon so I don't have to subject myself to this torture any longer. HA!