Saturday, 20 July 2013

Herring Gull Fishing Frenzy

We spent the day today travelling around Acadia National Park in Maine, USA and came across a tidal inlet right at low tide. The tidal range is relatively high in this part of the world (4-5 metres) and there are many small inlets that completely empty at low tide resulting in streams of water cascading across rocks and mud flats as the tide drops.

A large flock of Herring Gulls was fishing in this tidal cascade near Tremont

Herring Gulls (mostly), Tremont, Maine, USA

Mostly they were feeding on small fish trapped in the seaweed

Herring Gull, Tremont, Maine, USA

Others were 'ducking' their heads completely into the water

Herring Gull, Tremont Maine, USA

A few were just hanging around posing

Herring Gull, Tremont, Maine, USA

While others preferred the company of their larger, Great Black-backed cousins

Herring Gull + Great Black-backed Gull, Tremont, Maine, USA

Three terns were fishing in the inlet. They remained at a distance but I managed a few record shots of them. At this distance, without binoculars, they are hard to distinguish from Forster's Terns or Arctic Terns but I am fairly confident they are Common Terns, based on the dark ends of the primary feathers. It was great to see them in breeding plumage as I've never seen them like this in Australia.

Common Tern, Tremont, Maine, USA

Friday, 19 July 2013

Herring Gulls at Nubble Light

We are nearing the end of our tour of the east coast of the USA and today arrived in Maine, our 15th state of the trip. Nubble Light, at Cape Neddick near York, is one of the prettiest lightouses on the Maine coast so we dropped in there for a look late this morning on our way to Acadia National Park.

Nubble Light, York, Maine, USA

There were hundreds of birds flying around and perching on the rocks, as was the Herring Gull in the shot above, offering a bit more accidental birding.

Herring Gulls are probably the most common gull of the North Atlantic but 'common' is not a synonym for 'ordinary'. These gulls put on a fantastic display of flying

Herring Gull (immature), Nubble Light, Maine, USA

frequently gliding and hovering just overhead, providing some great close-up opportunities.
Herring Gull, Nubble Light, Maine, USA

Monday, 8 July 2013

Accidental Birding in North Carolina

I have just finished a fantastic two week road trip with my wife and in-laws travelling through the SE states of the US. This was a strictly non-birding holiday but I managed to capture some of the locals in flight from various beaches and ferries while travelling the coast of North Carolina (all taken with 28-200 zoom).

White Ibis, Southport, North Carolina
Tricolored Heron, Southport, North Carolina

We took two ferries across Pimlico Sound to get to the Outer Banks. Hundreds of terns flew across the bow of the ferry allowing reasonably close views. The most common were Royal Terns

Royal Tern, Pimlico Sound near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

including many with fish in their bills

Royal Tern, Pimloco Sound near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

and, of course (for my BirdLife Photography friends), the gulls were spectacular :-)

Laughing Gull, Pimlico Sound near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

and one not in flight but doing what Laughing Gulls do...

Laughing Gull, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

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