You know what a day with the gulls is, don’t you? You get together with some avian friends, go to the beauty parlor and get your plumage done, do some charity work, and have lunch and cocktails…
Er… wait a minute. That’s a day with the girls, not gulls.
Okay, scratch that.
A day with the gulls is when you’re walking around the lake and wind up stumbling upon a colony of ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) hanging out on the local pier. Yes, that’s what I meant.
So I had a day with the gulls. Or at least an hour or two.
The usual gulp of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) can be seen hanging out in the background. Meanwhile, an American coot (Fulica americana) is peeking through under the pier while an American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) lazily saunters between the pillars on the left. It was certainly a busy time near shore.
I sat on the pier for quite a while watching the gulls and other lake inhabitants as they started their day with warm sunshine and a steady breeze. It could not have been a more inviting scenario.
I did not realize until later that the above photo had captured one of the cormorants taking off from the water. You can see it on the left between the pier’s two columns.
But cormorants weren’t the only winged beasts flitting about that glorious morning. And the gulls weren’t the only inhabitants of the pier.
Two male great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) flew by in different directions while a male and a female perched along the side watching the goings on with feigned disinterest. The gulls, meanwhile, ignored the interlopers.
I tried to sneak a bit closer to the birds with hopes of capturing some better photographs. I’m sorry to say they grew restless as I approached. It’s not that they were terrified by my presence; they simply assumed I had something for them and promptly swarmed into the air waiting for the handouts to begin.
My apologies for arriving empty-handed fell on deaf ears, though. That was never more evident than when they screamed at me in sharp trills. So I backed away and tried to be as inconspicuous as I could be. Of course, that’s rather difficult when standing on a pier over open water with no cover save that available were I to leap into the water and hide amongst the shore’s foliage.
Yet the gulls, having realized I wasted their time, promptly went back to congregating. That’s when I captured this one coming in for a landing.
Beneath the approaching gull and behind the two standing on the pier is the same pelican slowly meandering toward the shallows of Sunset Bay. That bird was never in a hurry.
I’m happy to say we all enjoyed the morning together despite my lack of social graces (i.e., not bringing food for them).