Monday, August 10, 2009

Plymouth Beach-Gulls of Course!!

Laughing Gull doing me the honors of perching stoically with the ocean in the background and a perfect seashell to the left of him.

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!

Here it is in full view. Love its scrawny little chicken legs! HA
Glancing in my direction and wondering when I am going to go away with my annoying camera.

There were also quite a few Herring Gulls around including plenty of juveniles. I believe this gull is a second year Herring Gull , but I could be wrong. Sometimes taking too many photos is a curse because you have so many of the same bird and they all look a little different so you sit there for over an hour trying to figure out if the darn thing is first year, second year, etc. Yes, this is what I did Sunday afternoon folks, my life is full!

Same gull at a different angle. If you enlarge this picture you can see the faint yellow just at the very tip of its bill. So cool!

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?
My best picture so for of a Great Black-backed Gull. These birds appear to be much more photogenic at Plymouth Beach vs. Brierly Pond in Millbury. ;o)

Over exposed picture, but funny just the same. Here they all are giving the classic "hairy eyeball"! Check out the one one the far left, talk about attitude!

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!

A better shot of the bird.

An adult wading along the shore line.

And an adult wading in the water and smiling for his captivated audience!!!

Take care everyone.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

This is really a terrific set of pix !! I don't have any skill in id'ing gulls. Really, I have to admit, they really make my eyes glaze over but don't tell!!!
I try to be a good birder and learn about gulls but...

They really do give the hairy eyeball!

Kim said...

Lynne, gull ID's can give you mental cramps believe me. That is why I just ordered the Peterson Guide to help me. I love the gulls because they are a challenge so it makes it fun. And yes, they really do give the hairy eyeball which is another reason why I like them so much. HA

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Kim, i had never paid much attention to gulls before. I see them on the beach and basically ignore them. Bad Birder--ain't I????? ha ha

You have learned alot about them... Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Ratty said...

I like seeing the birds more every day. I always thought of all gulls as just seagulls too. I was just recently that way with all birds, and now a whole new world is opening up.

dAwN said...

Great pics Kim!
Gull ID is getting a bit easier for me each time I go out..but still is difficult..
So here I am playing catch up again..we are headed west today..the wheels hitting the pavement!
I will have lots of time while Jeff drives to catch up on my fav. blogs
Dont know if I told you but I mentioned your blog in one of my Weekly readers a few weeks back.
OK..catcha later..going down to your last post.

Deborah Godin said...

Great gull shots!! I really enjoyed the fruits of you getting so into them!!

MaineBirder said...

Your whole series from Plymouth beach is outstanding Kim, Gulls and all!

Love the Skimmer!!

Kim said...

Thanks all. I will be going to South Beach next week on a Forbush trip so I am guessing I will have a lot more shorebirds then. AND, I am going to buy more memory for my camera as I actually ran out of it in Plymouth due to all of my gull pics. Don't want that to happen again!! HA! ;o)

NCmountainwoman said...

As many times as I've been to the beach I have never once thought to take a photograph of a gull. You've inspired me to change my ways.

Kim said...

Hey there Carolyn, and that is why I continue to take gull pics and gull posts! HA! Gulls get a really bad rap and most non-birders can't stand them and many avid birders never develop an interest in them as they percieve them as ordinary which is so not the case. Seriously, take some pictures and watch them for a while as they are so fun to observe . Good stuff!! ;o)

Larry Jordan said...

Gulls are indeed a tough group of birds to get acquainted with Kim. You have some great shots of several species and in different plumage as well. You have been busy!

I had to smile about your comment on running out of memory though. It's amazing how fast it goes when you are snapping away huh?


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