Monday, 22 December 2014

Great Black-backed Gull (Goéland marin)

Columbia Lake
Waterloo, ON
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.


  1. Hello David,
    Beautiful photos of the gulls, great black-backed gull is certainly much larger than the other gulls.
    Too bad you could not get closer.
    Here still no ice, but a lot of wind, it is 11 degrees here.
    Best regards, Irma

  2. Gulls are such a challenge when one is travelling! Good luck with getting closer over the winter. It's interesting to know that the gulls move inland for winter too.

  3. Gulls with black feathers are rare for me so I'm glad to see them as soon:-)

  4. I guess it's because I'm hopeless at recognition, that I can't enthuse about gulls, David, particularly when it comes to trying to work out the many features of sub-adults! Your marvelous images, with goodness knows how many variations of plumage, just remind me of my inadequacy in this department!!

    With my best wishes to you both - - - - Richard

  5. I think masochism is the appropriate word David, especially with cold and ice around. I wouldn't mind seeing a few glaucs though.

  6. Beach for me without the seagulls would be sad. I like them. Regards.

  7. Nice of you the differences enumerates the various gulls. Herring gull or mantle. Beautiful pictures and the seagulls are so recognizable.