Sunday, July 17, 2011

Western Gulls & Heerman's Gulls; Western Birds

A Western Gull on take-off, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, CA; 6/13/2011.
Western Gulls (Above) were very abundant along the entire Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico. I saw plenty of them in Newport Beach, San Diego and specifically in the Channell Islands National Park. In fact, on Anacapa Island, the island closest to the California Coast is a primary grooming ground for these gulls.

A Western Gull in its first -year plumage, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, CA; 6/14/2011.

A Western Gull in the midst of changing to its breeding plumage, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, CA; 613/2011.
 I have a hard time telling gulls apart, but Western Gulls are by far the most numerous type of gull on the southwest Pacific coast during the summer. They have a pure white head with a bright yellow bill with a red spot on its lower mandible (known as a gonydeal spot). Their dark gray wings with black tips are outlined with white (Top).

A Heermann's Gull, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, CA; 6/14/2011.
Another White gull with dark wings that I saw along the Pacific coast was the Heermann's Gull (Above). I didn't see many of these because in June they tend to stay further south, mainly on the Baja Peninsula. So I lucked out seeing a small squabble of these guys hanging around  (a group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls). The main visible differences between Heermann's and Westerns are that Heerman's Gulls have red bills with black tips and their undersides are grayer than the Western's white bellies.

Young Heermann's Gulls on Crystal Cove State Park; August, 2005.
The only time I remember seeing Heermann's Gulls (Above) before was back in August of 2005. They will spend the winter months along the the central and southern coasts of California. They will migrate further south to the Baja for winter.

Sunset of the Day
A Pacific Ocean sunset, Dana Point, CA; 8/13/2007

1 comment:

~Val said...

This is quite a squabble of gull photos you have here. Great sunset shot - including the buoy really "makes" this photo.