Readers wildlife photos

Keep those photos coming in, folks, or we’ll never get to 50,000 subscribers (see next post).  Reader Ed Croc has sent us some gulls:

This has been an insanely busy summer for me so far and I have a large backlog of photos that I would like to send your way. It’s difficult for me to just send pictures without jawing about them a bit, which takes some time, but I’ll try to start sending photos more regularly even if they come with only basic information.

Here are a few Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) shots to fortify your emergency photo reserves. These were taken the last week of June, when most of our resident gulls were just hatching their young. The gull babies are about 3 days old here.

This is the second year this pair has nested at this location, atop a two storey residential building on False Creek in Vancouver, right next to the constantly busy Cambie Street Bridge (that’s where I took the shots from). It’s been well documented that gulls tend to mate for life, and I can confirm that this pair is the same as the previous year, as both partners have rather distinctive eye-rings that allow for individual identification. Their nest is located in the exact same location as last year, rebuilt from scratch, as the winter storms washed last year’s nest away. The pair hatched (and fledged) three chicks last year, but the third egg never hatched this year – you can see it in the foreground of one of the shots.
Out in Idaho, the brood of eleven gadwall ducklings (Anas strepera) monitored by Stephen Barnard has dwindled to nine, but appears to have stabilized for the time being:

13 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Such great photos. Keep it up.

  2. rickflick
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The location of the gull’s nest makes it ideal for photographing them. Great shots and text.

  3. Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Very interesting! Although this species of gull appears to form long term pair bonds, do they, you know, ‘hedge their bets’ in securing the legacy of their genes?

    • Posted July 14, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The answer appears to be “no”, at least in the (closely related) species of gulls that the question has been studied. Male Herring Gulls are sometimes observed having two “wives”, with the threesome usually remaining loyal to each other year after year. But the number of young such a threesome is able to raise is no better than a typical pair, while their reproductive success rates are far worse.

      The long term bond really does appear to be a major constant across species of gull. In some populations of Western and Ring-billed Gull, female-female pairs are surprisingly common. And same sex partnerships seem to be just as strong as typical partnerships, usually lasting for life.

      “Divorces” do happen, but this is usually between young birds who make for poor partners.

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 15, 2017 at 2:56 am | Permalink

        Most interesting!

        • rickflick
          Posted July 15, 2017 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          Does it remind you of that other wonder of nature, the featherless biped? Me too.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 16, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

            It almost sounds like gulls do it better. 😉

            (But imagine–new kids every year! 😯 )

  4. Glenda
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Hello from Kelowna BC. I’m familiar with the False Creek area and enjoyed the photos and information. Delightful. Thanks. Idaho duck mother doing a super job – ducklings that make it to that size will usually survive.

    PCC: We are all counting down with you!

  5. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Great gull pics. They’re such a common bird you forget how beautiful they are. And the chicks are so cute!

    • rickflick
      Posted July 15, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      Can we have squeee! here?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 15, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        That’s a word that I forget even exists in between hearing it from USians. It was new to me about a year ago. The best I can manage is an Awwww! 😀

    • Posted July 15, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      + 1

  6. Diane G.
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Ed, I’m always delighted with your gull pics and commentary. I am most impressed that you can distinguish individuals from eye-ring differences! Are the adults sexually dimorphic or do you rely on behavioral observations? The parent/chick shots are adorable. 🙂

    I always look forward to your duckling updates, Stephen. It intrigues me that cobs and ganders generally hang around to co-parent while drakes are basically wham/bam/thank-you maam.


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