Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photographs of Ring-billed Gulls in DC

As I mentioned in yesterday morning's post, I am in Massachusetts this weekend for the Superbowl of Birding, so blogging will be light. (If you want to know how things are going, check my Twitter account.) This morning I am going to try putting the "DC" back into "A DC Birding Blog" by posting a few birds I saw in the District last weekend. The day after the C&O Canal Count, I wandered around some neighborhoods I liked when I lived there, particularly Dupont Circle and the Capitol grounds. I was not specifically birding, but I did see a few species. Most were common urban birds; my best sighting was a Merlin that zipped past me near the Capitol.

While living in the city, I gained an appreciation for some very common birds. House Sparrows, for example, were one of the few species that deigned to visit the windowsill of my apartment. One that I really liked to watch is the Ring-billed Gull. These gulls are more dainty than the Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls, and the ones in cities are often quite approachable. So last Sunday, when I visited the reflecting pool on the west side of the Capitol, I took advantage of the occasion to photograph a few gulls.

First, here is an adult Ring-billed Gull in a hurry.

Second, here are two immature Ring-billed Gulls loafing on the edge of the pool.

Those were part of a much larger group lined up along the wall. As you can see from the whitewash on the wall, this is a very popular gull location.

Eventually they all took off, so I continued around the pool.