Which One is the Herring Gull? October 27, 2021

Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls are, by far, the most common gulls in our area in all seasons.

The fact that the Ring-bill has a ring on the bill:

Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gulls

and the Herring Gull doesn’t:

Herring Gull

would seem to be the easiest way to identify one from the other.

However, frequently the gull is too far away or the bill is concealed.

Ring-billed Gull

Another way to tell Ring-billed Gulls from Herring Gulls is size. Herring Gulls are considerably larger (about 25 inches in length) than Ring-billed Gulls (about 19 inches in length).

We saw this on the sunny beach at Marie Curtis Park where I took these photos this morning.

Herring Gull and Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull and Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gull and Herring Gull

Other birds:

Canada Geese
Double-crested Cormorant
White-throated Sparrow
Mallard (male)

Species list: great blue heron, double-crested cormorant, Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, red-tailed hawk, ring-billed gull, herring gull, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, ruby-crowned kinglet, house sparrow, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow.  (17 species)

Marie Curtis Park scenes:

Brown-lipped Snail

Today’s group:

Some botany:

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)
Teasle (Dipsacus fullonum)
Sweetbrier (Rosa rubiginosa) hips
Red Ash flower galls
Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadense)
Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadense)


Yes, I move, I live, I wander astray—
Water running, intermingling, over the sands.
I know the passionate pleasure of motion;
I taste the forests; I touch strange lands.             – Alfonsina Storni (1892–1938)

Miles Hearn

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