Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finding Forster and Fear-footed Gulls

I promise, I'm almost done with Salton Sea stuff. Ok, actually there are three more posts after this, but hey the Iliad and the Odyssey weren't short either.

Some of the Sea's better attractions are the Gulls and Terns than can be found there spring through early autumn (and a few all year round). It's gotta be one of the best inland areas to see these sorts of predominantly oceanic birds. Unfortunately, Pops and I dipped on the eminently cool Gull-billed Terns, but still came away with Black, Forster's, and Caspian Tern, along with California, Ring-billed, Herring, and Yellow-footed Gulls.

Most of the Tern sightings were fly-overs, but this little pack of Forster's Terns were doing their best to blend in with some Peeps. Although Forster's Terns are not exactly small birds, they're dwarfed by the Caspian Terns and outdone in attitude by the Gull-billed. Theirs must be an anxious life.


A Nervous wreck, I am afraid.


I appreciated seeing this pose. I think this is about how I felt and exactly how I may have looked as a boy when swinging as high as possible and then jettisoning from the seat at full extension. Y'all know what I'm talking about. Those few moments of free-fall from the swing were about as close as many of us will ever get to being an astronaut.


The Yellow-footed Gulls are probably the most treasured larus at the Salton Sea, and they are very appropriately named. Not only do they have yellow feet; these massive gulls (almost the size of Greater Black-backed) are very scared to show em'.


I mean, I guess the fact that these birds were all standing in water is at least in part to blame. They must be frustrating for the few larophile pedesphiles out there (yes, be sure you read that very carefully, for I'm talking about someone who loves Gulls and Feet, and nothing else).


There are few other places to find these locally common Gulls inland of the United States. While they weren't the most vivacious or revealing bunch, they certainly were a highlight, and in fact many birders migrate to the Salton Sea every year just to add these daffodil-footed dudes. HEre, for an ending note, is one such Gull chowing down on rotting fish, a typical Salton scene.


8 comments:

  1. Another fun post to read, Laurence, great photos. I enjoy gulls as well

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    1. Thanks Dan, always great to have you stop by.

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  2. Ooh yes, the free-falling sensation is great... Not to be confused with your least favorite Tom Petty song of course.

    Jealous of the gulls... My brief couple hours at the sea in the spring produced only the yellow feet of Ring-billeds. Just another reason to go back sometime...

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    1. Yes, free falling is wonderful. Experiencing Free Falling is an awful sensation, one that makes grown men tear their ears off, and grown women turn into earless grown men...that's right. Thanks for reminding me Jen.

      I found Yellow-footed and still have a half-dozen reasons to go back, with just a general sick, morbid fascination being only one of them. I wonder if that pull for new birds and macabre settings will ever subside? Are we turning into Birder Vultures?

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  3. I love gulls too! Too bad these didn't show those golden feet! Wonderful post.

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    1. Thanks Mia. I would've liked closer and better looks too. I feel like I let y'all down... :(

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  4. Gulls! Awesome. So difficult to ID at times, but very cool.

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    1. Gulls have a special lore in birdwatching no doubt. Birding in Iowa, you must be as starved for em' and I am in Phoenix!

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