One of the birding moments today was watching a couple of adult Great Black-backed Gulls at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee. One of the birds was shy and only came in once, and a walker flushed it. The other had only one thing on it’s mind, eating, and that was part of a dead fish at waters edge. A couple of days ago, I could not even get on the beach, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls were present that day and when I set foot on the beach they headed out on to the water. Today, this food was a factor, I was within 100 feet of many gulls as were walkers and the one Great Black-backed Gull with in them never moved, it worked on the fish, but it did keep an eye on me the whole time too. Had a little confrontation with a couple of Herring Gulls but overall not much trouble. The Herring and Ring-billed Gulls that were around pretty much kept their distance and respected this gulls space. I noticed this gull took the dead fish and dragged it into the water numerous times and out, it appeared it was washing the dead fish as it ate it. One time it looked like it was going to cover the dead fish up with bills full of algae but that process did not go far. At the end, the Great Black-backed Gull had appeared to have filled up and took to the air, then sitting far out on the lake bathing. A couple of Herring Gulls took over the piece of fish. The only other highlight today was seeing 2 Hermit Thrushes at Grant Park in Milwaukee below a bluff. Other than that a slow day birding where I was, few ducks out on the lake for this time of year. Beautiful day out with mild temps and sun, low winds. Images were taken on December 4, 2015.
Great Black-backed Gull
Binomial name: Larus marinus
Category: Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers
Description: The largest member of the gull family. White feathers with grayish-black backs and wings. The wings have white wingtips. Pink legs, strong yellow or pinkish-yellow bill.
Size: 25” – 31” long, 4’ 10” – 5’ 7” wingspan
Weight: 1.7 lbs. – 5.1 lbs.