July Gulls in BC

I pity the poor guller around coastal BC. So many hybrids, or apparent hybrids were present around the wharves and piers that it was a percentage game as to whether you counted one as pure. Glaucous-winged types were the default, there was a few that looked like Western, although eBird flags Western as rare if you see more than one. Then there were the seemingly straightforward California Gulls and finally Ring-billed. Later in the season it gets less complicated as purer Glaucous-winged and Western arrive to winter, but in late July and with birds in heavy molt, the gulls were just something to have a little stab at and move on.

I was particularly interested in seeing California Gulls, it has the potential to appear here and, in fact, it might be considered surprising that it is not more often reported in the north east in general. We saw quite a few in all ages including juvenile (recently fledged), an age class that I had no experience of. As for the rest, the mutts, they are called Olympic Gulls, are a genetic soup made up of Western and Glaucous-winged. They are fertile and breed, interbreed and should be considered very unsporting.

Our first bunch of gulls to be seen not just wafting overhead were at Tsawwassen Ferry where we crossed to Vancouver Island. This one is a gull and that is as far as I will commit. I think this is how all gulls will look after eating Magic Mushrooms.

 

Around the ferry we had some good looking Glaucous-winged and some Western Candidates, so we did what any visiting birder would do and ticked them both. These images are of Glaucous-winged types.

 

California was easier as an adult followed us around a while.

 

These juvenile California Gulls were most instructive, so crisp and neat amongst the badly dressed mutts. Still not sure about the one below, seemed big for a Cal Gull.

One gull species that gave no cause for alarm was Heermann’s. They were around Tofino and retain the look of the species, even when a bit mess.

 

Below, just a juv Ring-billed Gull.

There we are then, gulls done, you can skip on now if you like.

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