Sunday, January 20, 2019

Black-headed Gull

     Yesterday I took a day to take care of things around the house, but found some time to sneak out and nab a good bird. In an outing to Sheepshead Bay, I got a black-headed gull, saw some familiar human faces  that I enjoy seeing, and did it all in under an hour and before sunset.
     Tomorrow I will try again for the Varied Thrush on Staten Island, this might be the last trip until another good bird comes up out there, that bridge toll is killer!
If you see a gull that has any orange on it, legs or bill- stop and look, it's not your run of the mill ring-billed (left), herring, or black-back gull.
Orange bill, orange legs, petite, and those black "ears," means we have a black-headed gull.

Brief lesser scaup interlude (they were so close, I couldn't resist!).

Also, another nice marker for not your run-of-the-mill gull, the leading edge of those wings from wrist to tips is white. They look like headlights in flight.
Now if you saw a gull like this, but with a small black bill, you'd have a Bonaparte's gull. The beauty of gulls is their subtle differences and even more confusing-- their plumage cycles, based on age. They are not always the easiest birds to ID, even though they are everywhere.
In breeding, black-headed gulls actually have black heads, but winter is not breeding time. So, similar to laughing gulls and Bonaparte's gulls, no black head in the winter time.

And now. Lots of preening.

Yay! Black-headed gull!

No comments:

Post a Comment