Saturday 6 April 2013

Breeding Plumage Black-headed Gulls

Adult Black-headed Gulls, locally common on the Avalon Peninsula October to May, take on a whole different appearance in breeding plumage. The white head with the black spots of winter turn into a dark brown head with accented white eye crescents. The crimson bill and legs of winter turn brownish-red, appearing dark in dull light or at a distance.  We don't see them for long in this plumage as most of the adults disappear from the sewer outflows during April and fly back to Iceland. Since they wait until March to acquire the dark head we have only 4-6 weeks to enjoy them in full breeding plumage. Of course there are small breeding colonies in Newfoundland (especially Stephenville Crossing) where breeding plumage birds can be seen during summer. With Pier 17and access to the sewer outflow now closed off to all terrorists and birdwatchers, seeing the adults in breeding plumage is not so simple.  On Saturday there were four adults flying around the Chamberlains, Conception Bay sewer outflow.  I took these snaps there.
Gull Love.

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