Gulls are a common sight in Summerside along the shoreline and in the harbour in the spring, summer and fall. Some stay year round. When the harbour freezes in December, those birds head for open water around the island. Having lived all my life on eastern Canadian islands, gulls are as much a part of life as the tides. Their calls are synonymous with the sea.
They stand into the wind along the beach like sentinels of the marine environment.
They glide on the wind as if at play and are the cleaners of the environment as tremendous scavengers.
There is so much to appreciate about gulls.
This past summer, my husband and I were interested to see some of the smallest and biggest gull species. Great Black-backed Gulls are the largest gulls in the world. When we have seen them with other species of gulls, they can be aggressive, taking food from the others.
On one occasion though, a Great Black-back with its mouth full of crab, landed in the middle of a group of smaller gulls.
The others wanted the crab but with one lift of its wings, the large bird sloughed off the other birds with a loud cry. They quickly moved away.
Late July every year, Bonaparte’s Gulls return to Prince Edward Island from their breeding grounds in the northwest. They are among the smallest gulls and are unique among gulls in that they nest in trees. We always see them in a flock, adults as well as immature ones spend time along the shoreline, in preparation for their trip south. They feed along our shoreline for a month or so.
The adults have black heads when we see them in the summer.
The juveniles have white heads with a black dot behind each eye.
One of the last times we saw these little gulls this year, they were facing south. I imagine they were pondering the long journey ahead.
Herring Gulls are common around the island too. They are larger birds and their call is the sound of the seaside I grew up with in Newfoundland.
The juvenile Herring Gulls look different from the adults and with their dark grey brown feathers you would not connect them to the adults of the species.
Herring Gulls are some of the birds who drop seafood in shells from a height to break the shell on the rocks below.
We have watched the Herring Gulls prepare their lunch this way and other gulls last winter did the same as we watched them fly along the Grand River.
While gulls also live in inland parts of Canada, as an east coast Canadian island woman, gulls are as much a part of my life as the sea itself. I cannot imagine life without either.
A delightful and informative post, Marie. I too enjoy watching and photographing their antics, but I have to admit that I have little knowledge of each species.
Yes, herring gulls were part of my growing up years also. Even now when I stay with my mother I can hear them patter across the roof of the house and their raucous voices wake me every morning. There's one I call "Bubbles" who is easily identifiable by a strange looking feather. He lands on the electrical pole and "talks" until I go out on the deck to throw out something for him to eat. Have you noticed how they fight with each other over food? One will latch into the other's bill with its bill and won't let go. I have actually gone outside, after watching for awhile, to help the attacked by driving the attacker into the sky thus having to release the poor bird who couldn't open his bill or get away!
We have lots of different gulls around here, too, and their call is very familiar to me. Whatever gull it is that sounds like it is giving me a raspberry is the one I hear most often. Thank you for the education about these different gulls. :-)
I feel the same way about gulls Marie, they are so synonymous with living near the coast. Their bills fascinate me, some are so big.
And I cannot imagine living with them...but sure would like to. I like to watch them, and they are photogenic.
I don't know why we have seagulls here in landlocked Alberta, but we do. They sure get around.
Seagulls are fun to watch. Ours here sit on the rocks at high tide and then when it's low tide they go out and search for a bite to eat and that's when the fun begins. I enjoy seeing and watching them. I know we have a few different kinds of seagulls but I haven't figured out which ones. I just got a bird book so that will help identify them. Nice informative post Marie, I enjoyed it. Have a wonderful weekend.
Herring Gulls are part of the seaside experience here too - rather noisy if they insist on perching just outside your bedroom window in early morning! I could just about recognise a Bonaparte's Gull, but I didn't realise they nested in trees - that's amazing.
Thanks for sharing some interesting facts about these gulls. We have the Ring-billed and Franklin’s gulls here. i think some others occasionally show up but are rare.
Love your very varied gulls. We really only have one - the Silver gull, but just as you do, I love them.
I do envy you living so close to the sea.
Wonderful shots. We do have some gulls here, but they retreat south when it gets cold.
Gulls are a pleasure to watch. Here, when the sun is warm, they all head inland to the dump by the thousands.
Lovely to see you writing about gulls. So many consider them common or too brash to be worth noticing, but to me they are synonymous with the ocean and their sound makes my heart smile. I also love seeing them dropping shellfish to crack open the shells, and can sit for hours watching them interact with each other. We lived once beside a small stream that came out on the beach and every morning and evening the gulls would be there washing themselves in the fresh water. We don't have as many species as you though :)
i agree and don't find them to be the nuisance that most people believe them to be!! great capture of the gull with it's score of the day!!
Right On - Simple But Entertaining - Great Crab Photo - Keep Walking On And Thanx For Sharing A Little Slice From You Life - Be Well
I did not know there were so many varieties.
I didn't know that Bonaparte gulls nested in trees . Cool!
I did not grow up near the ocean, but I've come to appreciate the gulls now that I do. They are always up to something, and I enjoy the way they fly and wheel and cry. I'm still learning the varieties we have here.
Your knowledge of all the different gulls, Marie, reminds me of the Eskimos who know all the different kinds of snow! I'm very impressed.
Oh these are Delightful sights dear Marie :)
thank for making us part of your adventures ,what a spectacular time i have here with you in your one of the most beautiful part of the world
imagining life without things we grew up with is impossible i know how that ,i know how single day spent in my native town brings me unimaginable incredible joy and peace rather then all other days spent in other beautiful cities :)
more blessings to you my friend :)
You are very fortunate to be able to share your world with gulls in this way, it is always a pleasure to be around them.
I love the gulls and their sounds.
Nice variety and collection of gull photos. Take care, enjoy your day!
The juvenile Herring Gull looks so pretty.... interesting to know they are different when they grow up....
Thank you for sharing beautiful photos of gull
I didn't realize that there were so many types of gulls. When I go to the ocean, their cries are very atmospheric.
I miss seeing sea gulls now that I live in the mountains far from the coast. Years ago when I was a teen, I often drove down to Panama City Florida to spend the weekend at the beach. I like to watch birds, but I found the gulls to be extremely interesting. I was surprised to see gulls here in the mountains of North Carolina on Lake Chatuge one day. I thought they might be lost, but others have seen gulls here. Great photos today of the gulls and I like your information on the different kinds. Thanks.
I always thought that Gulls were just seagulls. I've never seen, nor even knew, there were so many varieties. Thanks for the Gull lesson. I'll look closer next time.
I would love to see some gulls but not sure when we are ever going to see the see again or have a holiday! Take care Diane
These are phenomenal pictures.
I will look at them again. Wow!!
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