21 December 2014
Winter is a fabulous time for gull enthusiasts for the cold weather brings many species inland - species not found here at other times of the year.
Yesterday four species were present at Columbia Lake, all resting on the ice, and we observed nary a squabble amongst them! This very handsome Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus caught our attention as it stood out from the crowd.
One always thinks of an American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus as a big gull (and it is) but judge from the picture how much larger is a Great Black-backed Gull. It is in fact the largest gull in the world.
The gulls were loafing in the middle of the lake, so the distance for photographs was not ideal, and the ice was too thin to walk on, so there was no chance for a better angle.
At one point a magnificent adult Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus landed, but behind a whole bunch of other gulls, and immediately settled down on the ice, and a photograph was impossible. I'll keep checking throughout the winter and hope for better opportunities.
It's always fun (or is it masochism?) to try to age the sub adult gulls, and to pick out the juveniles of one species from those of another. Whatever the reason to get out and observe, it's always a pleasure to see a congregation of gulls on a frozen lake.