Monday, August 23, 2010

Bonaparte’s Gull and Juvenile Laughing Gull

We are having a rain storm today. This has blown in some visitors. Late summer is a difficult time for identifying gulls. It seems that every four year gull is in between some plumage that is documented in the field guides. And with gulls, you need more that just one flight shot and one sitting shot. (Say that fast five times.)

The Bonaparte’s Gull is not an every day gull here in Gloucester harbor. And this gull is in between stages. Plus he is doing the Storm Petrel dance on the water. But it looks too much like a gull to be confused with a Storm Petrel. ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

A shot flight shot from above gives a field guide pose, but again, this one is mid-molt.DSC_0020

This one cause me to do a bit of hunting. Yes, after an hour and a half of pouring through the field, I have found out that this gull has been laughing at me. Yes, it is a juvenile Laughing Gull. It looks absolutely nothing like his parents, but why should he? I finally found one obscure picture in my gull book that finally cracked the case.


Yes, he too was doing the Storm Petrel Dance. I did see a couple of adults, but they look so different, I didn’t associate them at the time.


Here is the laughing gull with a Herring Gull.


On the right is a juvenile Herring Gull coming in. He’s too heavy to do the Storm Petrel Dance. Note the difference in the upper tail covers, and the wing patterns.


So what’s the big attraction? Why, Gloucester is a great place to bring the kids fishing.



Chris said...

Well I was already discussing with Chris about bird ID since most of them have been separated in different groups, but now if the gulls are doing storm-petrel dances, that even more difficult ;-) Well done on the shots they are beautiful...

forestal said...

wonderful photo series Steve


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