Can we talk about gulls for a moment? I know some birders eschew them, won’t even look at them, call them names like sea rats, G-U-11s, but, truth be told, …shhhh…I sorta like them. Maybe it’s because growing up in the flat land, we didn’t have any. Or they are a visual reminder of the sea. I like their brashness, their insistence, their laugh, their size. Yes, they are frustratingly confusing. Yes, they have a several year maturity rate so there are lots of in-between plumage variations. Yes, they loaf around garbage dumps and shopping center parking lots, the tops of lamp posts on the Tappan Zee Bridge and oddly enough even at the beach. I am by no means an expert in picking out the juveniles but the adults are not that difficult. With closed eyes the call of a Laughing Gull always and forever will remind of the Jersey Shore.
My favorite gull (is it terrible having favorites?) is the Heermann’s Gull from California. I love the soft ombré of their fashionable plumage, going from white through shades of gray, ending with tidy black stockings. And the red beak, what a color, as red as the best lipstick. I think they are absolutely the most beautiful.