Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Evening Creature Feature, Glaucous Gull

We’re having a bit of weather today. It’s no big deal, just light, wet snow. I loaded up the gear and headed over to State Fish Pier here in Gloucester. I like to walk up along the North Channel along the big trawlers just to see what’s up.

I ran into a couple that said that there is an interesting gull and they wanted to show me. We chatted a bit and identified mutual friends and acquaintances. And there it was, a juvenile Glaucous Gull. A father and daughter were tossing popcorn out of an SUV. The gulls were mildly interested.

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 001_

So what does Glaucous mean, anyway? According to my trusty copy of American Bird Names, revised edition by Ernest A Choate, “for its silvery blue plumage.” Hmmm, it leaves me quite empty. Let’s keep looking.

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 007_

GLAUC'OUS, a. [L. glaucus.] Of a sea green color; of a light green, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Hmm…I don’t think so. Well, maybe if you look real close at the under tail coverts. It’s a stretch.

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 014_

Definition of GLAUCOUS from Merriam-Webster.com

1 a : of a pale yellow-green color b : of a light bluish-gray or bluish-white color

2 : having a powdery or waxy coating that gives a frosted appearance and tends to rub off

Latin glaucus, from Greek glaukos gleaming, gray

First Known Use: 1671

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 020_

I think I’m satisfied with 2. above. This bird looks kind of frosty.

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 009_

However, for the adult, perhaps definition 1 will work better. Sadly, I do not have a photo of an adult. The Glaucous Gull is a full two inches longer than the Herring Gull, making him a pretty big brute. Here this gull is taking on a threat pose.

  Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 003_

There are always a few Glaucous Gulls here in Gloucester in the winter. They are not always seen, but if you go to State Fish Pier and look up the North Channel, you have a good shot. That’s where I see them the most. I’ll also see them off of Fort Point and rarely at Eastern Point. But you know, the bird’s got wings. It can go where ever it wants to.

Glaucous Gull 11 February 2012 - 005_

A real cock-of-the-rock gull.

1 comment:

Kerri said...

WOW Steve - these are EXCELLENT captures! I only get to see the ring-billed gulls around here near the river.
I love how you listed the meanings too.... I am with you -- I think he looks a big frosty :)

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