Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I recently attended an "All about Gulls" class presented by Wayne Peterson of  Massachusetts Audubon.  The class included an in class session and a field trip to apply what was learned in the classroom.  I find this sort of training experience is the best way for me to learn.  Clearly the benefit was the few tidbits picked up in the class and then the repetition of so many Gulls at Jodfrey Pier in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Gulltastic!!!!  I have a new appreciation for gulls now.  They are one of the most difficult group of species to ID due to their maturity cycle.  The larger the gull the longer to mature which requires a birder to know each cycle.  Take the Great Black Backed Gull for instance.  It takes 4 years to fully mature.  Sure its easy to know a BBG in adult plumage, but Jeesh the 4 different cycles with spring time plumage and then the molt.  Yikes!   Fortunately smaller gulls have fewer cycles, but they are even a challenge.   Sooo next time you see a gull....pause and give a second look.  You may come to appreciate these nasty scavengers as much as me.  :)

I'm going to post some of my favorite gull photos.  Each a different species.  I'm not going to challenge you with cycle plumage, although I will be posting a few immature birds as well.

 Glaucous Gull-2nd cycle (?)

 Iceland Gull-adult

Unknown Hybrid-Duluth, MN

Black-headed gull (European)

Bonaparte's Gull

Lesser Black backed Gull

Sabine's Gull

Greater Black Backed Gull
(munching on some lobster)

Herring Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Laughing Gull

And there are a lot more so stay tuned!


Dan Huber said...

Great series of gull photos Tucker. I find them a lot of fun to figure out too, often very confusing.

Jen said...

Great gull shots... I was sad that I had to work the night our Audubon had a gull class last month. I still try to figure them out anyway. It gets frustrating sometimes but I am lucky to know a couple gull experts I can beg for help from.

Cynthia White said...

Beautiful photos!

John (Tucker) said...

Even the experts were challenged by the unknown hybrid I posted as photo 3. Jen, feel free to share the photo with your experts and see if they have an opinion.