Monday, September 14, 2009

a Little gull

This morning at Tiscornia I had a juvenile Little Gull fly by WAY out there. It settled on the water for about 5 minutes and then kept going south.

If it had come in to the beach it might have looked something like this...
This was my life Little Gull in September of 2006, a smartly plumaged juvenile bird. (That photo was actually printed in North American Birds in black-and-white, the only photo I've ever had published).

This photo shows the obvious origin of the name. The Little Gull is the world's smallest gull. I'm not sure where Great Lakes birds come from. I think there used to be a few pairs in northern Wisconsin. I can't remember if these breed up in Churchill as well. Per Olsen and Larsson, the world population is about 60,000 birds give or take, the majority in Russia and the various former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe.

Here's a shot of the above bird as it took off the beach. The heavy black M is what gave away my bird today. The adults have somewhat of a reverse pattern, black underwings and pale gray upperwings, whereas the juveniles have the black patterned upperwings and white underwings. Second year birds (probaby the most commonly encountered form from Tiscornia have intermediately colored underwings, mostly pale gray upperwings with a few black retained outer primaries). But, we'll save them for another post sometime...

1 comment:

Jerry Jourdan said...

Congrats, Matt! Great bird!