Saturday 30 January 2016

Vancouver Birders Go Gull Crazy

Jan 28th 2015 Trout Lake Clouds and Sun 9c

UK and Asia readers might wonder why this blog features the very common Black-headed Gull. Simple, it's only the second record in British Columbia since 2001. That's enough of a reason for many birders to make the trek to a small Vancouver pond. A red beak and legs make is easy enough to spot amongst the similar sized Ring-billed and larger Glaucous-winged Gulls.
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Trout Lake.
It took a while to find the bird as it was on the water when I arrived. Finally it flew over to a grassy area with a few ring-billed and just as I was going to snap a picture a dog flushed the flock and off they flew. 

Later a savvy photographer from Washington State came armed with a loaf of bread (why didn't I think of that) and soon the gulls were temped to fly close enough for some flight shots.

The red legs were a giveaway compared to the pale yellow/green of the Ring-billed Gulls.

I panned the camera with the bird to create the soft pastel background.
Using the Nikon 200mm-500mm zoom allowed me to crop in the camera when the bird came really close.

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 Comparison shots from the Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire UK 2014 showing breeding plumage.
Courtship display Gibraltar Point UK.

Black-headed Gulls in full breeding plumage are colony nesters and make simple nests in the mud. 

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon

BC Canada

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