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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thayer's Gull

Larus thayeri

  • Middle to large gull
  • White head and underparts
  • Gray back
  • Black wing tips
  • Yellow bill with red spot on lower mandible
  • Bright pink legs
  • Brown eye with purple-red eye ring (photo below)
Listen to its call.  

Although the rocky shores of Clover Point are a hotspot for gulls all year round, on a less than perfect day (like today) the wind off the ocean tends to cut right through you. Thankfully, I ventured down there last Friday when it was sunny and warm: a perfect day for visting the area.  

I saw a number of these gulls interspersed with Heerman's Gulls, which were of relatively the same size. After studying the pictures and characteristics of all the adult gulls in Victoria, I concluded that this was a Thayer's Gull. And then I started to second guess myself. Its coloring seems to be correct and I think the bill is shorter than that of a Herring Gull. However, although the wing tips have larger white windows than the Herring Gull's, I'm not sure about the color of the underside of the wings.  Any thoughts?

Learn more about the Thayer's Gull.

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