There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heermann's Gull

Larus heermanni

Medium-sized gull
Red bill with black tip
Dark eye
Black legs
Gray underparts
Dark gray back and wings
Black, unmarked wing tips - white trailing edge
Black tail with white tip
Breeding plumage: (not photographed)
    White head
    Mottled head

Listen to its call.

While kayaking today, I saw a large number of gulls (and seals) on some small islands near Oak Bay Marina.  As usual, I scanned the gulls looking for any interesting differences, however small, that might indicate a species I had yet to photograph. There was no need to look very far. This gull was fairly distinctive, with its gray underparts and bright red bill. 

Instead of perching on the ridge with the others, this one was sitting on the rocks right by the water. As I'm now able to bring my camera kayaking with me, thanks to my new deck pouch which keeps it handy and dry, I was able to get some nice photographs.  Unfortunately, I did manage to lose my sunglasses in the process but, all in all, I think it was worth it.

Learn more about the Heermann's Gull.

Additional photos:

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