Thursday, December 30, 2010

Western Gulls

I have to admit, when I was living in the west, I didn’t care much for gulls. Like many birders, I would be out on a survey and stumble onto a flock and think, “oh, s&^t. How am I going to report this mess?”

Having lived in Gloucester for the last four years has given me an advantage. We really have bazillions of gulls here, and seeing them over and over and over and over and over again has steeled me to the task. So while visiting Point Lobos Reserve in Carmel, California I saw these gulls flying by and without flinching, I knew that I could identify them with little trouble. But to be sure, it was better to shoot first and ask questions later.

First is the adult in flight.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Next is the first winter bird, most likely a Western.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Another shot of a first winter gull.

Western Gull 12-21-2010 2-32-05 PM

Finally, a third winter Western. The thing to look for is the spot  pattern on the wing tips of the primary feathers. This is easier done if you shoot first and ask questions later. Not so easy when the gull is flying in a gale as these were!

Western Gull 12-21-2010 2-31-34 PM

8 comments:

Valerie said...

Such a place i doubt I will ever see! Beautiful pictures of the birds in their element!

Roy said...

They are a bit of a nightmare to ID Steve, you really have to specialise in them to know one from the other.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Gulls are tough to ID. While they frequented our lake daily, winter months we would watch SCADS of them swirling around like snowflakes catching fishes and whatever. It's a challenge and you are GOOD! Thanks - nice photos!

forestal said...

very nice series Steve- I really enjoy Gulls but it takes part of my brain not yet developed. I have enough trouble with those over on east coast, but would be fun to see them over on the west.

Carol Mattingly said...

Steve, I love the last shot the best. The blues in the background with the bird flying are gorgeous. Happy New Year!! Carol

texwisgirl said...

I'm with Carol above. That last shot of the blues in the crashing seas is just wonderful!

But I thoroughly enjoyed seeing those mottled gulls. Very neat color patterns!

Rusty said...

They can certainly be a pain - like when they swoop down on a schoolyard of kids trying to grab whatever there might be to grab and eat.

On the other hand - they have to be among the most beautiful of flyers - they seem to make it seem so effortless. ATB!

Wilma said...

"Shoot first and ask questions later." :-) Sometimes that is the only way. Great shots; I just love Point Lobos.

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