~ Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 190: Closer and Closer ~

A seagull, is a seagull is a seagull is a shorebird. Often raucous and bothersome to people, they are a welcome friend in flocks of other shorebirds, and are native gleaner-cleaners along the surf of the Long Beach Peninsula.

Laurus occidentalis

Determined not to just call them generic gulls, I took many shots of those I encountered, and then studied bird guidebooks to identify the specific species. What a journey in circles I entered! In the photo above there are four gulls that look similar, one that is smaller, and the two on the log have different feather colors and beaks. All are Western Seafulls.

Little did I know when I started this quest that, much like Bald Eagles, Western Seagulls transition to adult plumage (and beaks) over four years. The three above are all immature. They have the characteristic pink legs, large black beaks and mottled feathers with dark tails.

This bird is close to adulthood. Its black beak is gradually turning to the yellow-orange it will be when it matures.

A mature Western Seagull sporting its bright yellow-orange beak with a teardrop of red on the underside of the bill, dark eyes and pink legs. Its breast feathers are now almost pure white.

An adult pair of Western Seagulls, one with damage to its bill. “Seagulls live long lives, up to 30-40 years, and mate for life, but will rapidly re-mate if original mate is lost.” (Birds of the Puget Sound Region, Paulson et al.)

Closer and closer is Patti Moed’s challenge this week. Hope you enjoyed this birds-eye view of a common, yet unheralded member of our avian community.

Wherever your camera takes you, please honor our earth, be kind and stay safe.🐾

This entry was posted in Birding, birds, Lens-Artists, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, nature photography, ornithology, pacific northwest, pacific ocean, photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to ~ Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 190: Closer and Closer ~

  1. JohnRH says:

    Great photos. Monogamy, OMG!

  2. Wind Kisses says:

    And to think, I thought they just ransacked picnic baskets. lol. This was interesting. Poor birds never get enough love. Had no idea they lived so long. Donna

  3. pattimoed says:

    Wonderful photos and background information on the seagull. I had no idea they lived that long and mated for life. 😀.

  4. Tina Schell says:

    Loved this Lindy – we have all of these birds here on Kiawah and I often wonder which is which! Loved the mated pair and had no idea they mated for life. Very cool!

    • Lindy Le Coq says:

      Thank you, Tina. Learning about birds (beyond “it’s a gull”!) has been a wonderful way to stay mentally active and a great excuse to take lots of photos in nature!

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