Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lesser Black-backed Gull

An adult, breeding-plumaged Lesser Black-backed Gull showed up at Donaldson Park yesterday afternoon at low tide. It is the gull in the foreground of the image above. Its normally sleek lines and small size relative to Herring Gulls are somewhat obscured since it chose the moment I snapped the shutter to fluff its feathers out. Other markings, like the slate-gray back and yellow legs, are visible, however. What impressed me about this gull was how brightly colored it was. The yellow legs really stood out, especially when sunlight hit them the right way. I have spent many winter days closely scrutinizing the legs of poorly-lit, dark-backed gulls in the hope of picking out a Lesser among the Great Black-backed Gulls. On this bird, the yellow legs gleamed almost as brightly as flashing neon lights. The white head feathers and yellow bill also seemed quite gaudy.

The other notable bird yesterday afternoon was a Pied-billed Grebe, my first of the year for that species. A little further downstream was a pair of Common Mergansers, which could well turn out to be my last of the spring for that waterbird species.

Red maple flowers are further developed than the last time I photographed them.