first winter

12.24.20 ~ Eastern Point ~ great black-backed gull, first winter

This gull certainly knows how to fish and feed himself. His parents prepared him well for his first winter here in New England. We first started seeing great black-backed gulls here in 2012 and it seems they are here to stay. Their huge size (length 25-31″/64-79 cm), compared to other kinds of gulls, always impresses me.

This very large, black-backed, pink-legged gull is the largest gull in the world, and males in particular are massive.
~ Steve N. G. Howell & Jon Dunn
(Gulls of the Americas)

It takes four years for these gulls to finally get their adult plumage. This one seems to be off to a good start. They can live for over twenty years.

31 thoughts on “first winter”

    1. All the snow is gone, sadly. Now we wish for more, snow without ice on top would be nice. πŸ™‚ Winters aren’t what they used to be…

      1. It seems like many things are not what they used to be and even the slightest changes are magnified, probably because we have too much time on our hands to consider everything that’s happening. Enjoy your cold weather for now and hopefully by the time spring arrives, things will be different again, in a positive way. πŸ’•

        1. I do hope this proves to be a “slight” and temporary change but the numbers are concerning. We haven’t had a snowy winter since 2010-2011, in ten years. And we haven’t had a significant snowfall in five years. (Until the 8 inches which ended in rain and melted away.) Winters not being what they used to be might be a subjective perception on my part but it doesn’t come from having too much time on my hands! My own method of measuring is that I haven’t seen people ice skating on the ponds or sledding down the hills in years. And to notice people out golfing in January the past couple of years — hmmm….

          1. Wow, that’s a long time to not have much snow! I thought with being so far north you would have snow more often. But you never know, it might return. We are having a lot of rain this summer and compared to last year, that is brilliant! On New Years Eve last year, fires were raging across the eastern states of Australia, so it goes to show how fickle weather patterns can be.
            Happy New Year to you and Tim! πŸ’•

          2. We do tend to get less snow here on the coast than they do inland, except for the odd coastal storm which brings us more snow than them. My sister, who lives about 45 miles (72km) inland, and I love to compare notes after each storm. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year, Joanne! πŸ’•

    1. My herring gull friend was at least 8 years old the last time I saw him and I could add 4 years to that because he was an adult the first time I saw him and it takes 4 years for them to get adult plumage. Amazing creatures!

    1. Their population is declining in Maine and increasing down south in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. They seem to be moving south from the North Atlantic. Apparently they have displaced herring gulls in some breeding habitats in New England.

  1. I had no idea gulls could be so big! At southern Norway there are multitudes, and I have never seen any as big as this.I wonder how the new England landscapes give different possibilities for them

    1. I think so, too. I’m still trying to learn to distinguish between the first and second winter patterns. I still have to go to my bird i.d. group for help!

    1. And he wasn’t about to share it, either. A couple of other gulls were circling, waiting for an opportunity. Every gull for himself!

      1. Wow, that’s amazing, Barbara! That’s the problem with having animals as pets, they often outlive their owners. πŸ™‚ Come to think of it we had a friend whose father had a parrot. When the father died in his 90s, he left the parrot, but I’m not sure what happened to it. πŸ™‚

        1. I’ve heard tell about the remarkable longevity of parrots! It seems like their guardians would be wise to make arrangements for their care if they should predecease them. πŸ™‚

          1. They probably did, I just don’t know or remember what happened to it, but that’s a good idea, Barbara. πŸ™‚ Even our cats will probably outlive us, so we will need to do the same thing. πŸ™‚

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a gull like this Barbara – you sure got him and his “catch of the day” (or maybe I should say “catches of the day”) up close. That second fish is pretty big for him to wrangle around. I was watching the ducks enjoying the shad the other day and the fish was flipping around in their beak and they are very agile for keeping it from going back into the water.

    1. You might see a great black-backed gull some day, Linda. One article I read said their range is expanding into the shorelines of the Great Lakes. This one seemed to be taking forever for to eat that fish and I was getting cold so I didn’t stick around to see if was going to eat the whole thing or leave some for the other gulls milling round.

      1. I’ll have to look Barbara – I usually see the herring gulls mostly. In going through my photos yesterday, I have some funny seagull photos of them to share in upcoming posts. We think that people are the only ones who look at one another strangely sometimes. Seagulls have some personality and often do the same thing … birds with the head tilt always give me a smile.

        1. Looking forward to your upcoming gull posts. πŸ™‚ I agree with you, gulls have different personalities and interesting relationships with each other — and with us. Their behavior fascinates me…

          1. Well one will be this week for Wordless Wednesday. Over Thanksgiving, I did a quick run through of the pics I took in November to see how the seagull shots I took with the guy throwing the bread turned out. So, I culled several sets of Wordless Wednesday seagull shenanigans posts. I like them as they pose nicely without flying off like the heron or a songbird. They are pretty fearless (probably because they think I brought treats for them).

          2. I think this might have gone to SPAM. Either that or WordPress is acting up. The other day I wanted to tell you this – this is also how I noticed you were not here. I publish my posts at 5:00 a.m. I check in the morning to ensure they posted in Reader (I had issues before with that). I saw my 12/31 post in Reader … later in the day, it was gone. I wrote WordPress and said “my 12/31 post is no longer in Reader and it was earlier and I tried three browsers.” It showed up again a few hours later, but that happened with the post I saw on your site to give to Marsha, but it was missing from Reader.

          3. Gulls often do pose nicely, don’t they? I like it when they pose on the rocks or on the sand, which makes a nice backdrop. But now that winter is here they tend to gather on the parking lot which isn’t the nicest background. It will be fun seeing the November shenanigans of your gulls.

            I gave up on Reader and went back to email notifications for the time being. Reader was so unpredictable and I had assumed all posts showed up there when they didn’t. Grrrrr….

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