Black-headed Gull

Today we ranged around the Baie de Somme, starting at the Parc du Marquenterre , through 3 pm (more below). Then more touristy things, ending at the Point of Hourdel, where under the right conditions one can see perhaps the biggest flock of seals on France's Atlantic Coast. We were a couple of hours too near to low tide, and the seals had moved far out on an extended, incredibly flat beach. We did see as many as a hundred seals, just barely in our binoculars; we'll try to do better tomorrow.

But as we were leaving I noticed gulls flying close to our parked car (on a sort of dock at least 20 meters above the water), and in just 3-4 sweeps I managed this portrait of a Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus. It's nothing special***, in fact present in droves, but it at least fills my desire to post a bird (this is winter/non-breeding plumage; in summer the head would be a very dark brown).

***Edit: Email comment from my ornithologist friend: "I find gulls in general and Black-headed Gulls in particular to be quite special. This is one of the species that Niko Tinbergen studied, some of the foundational studies of ethology. I heartily recommend Tinbergen's descriptions of gull research ."

In the morning at the Parc du Marquenterre the birds were mostly far away (frustrating for me with the photo equipment I brought along*). The most notable species were perhaps white spoonbills, and white storks (the latter perhaps the last of Africa-bound migrants. There were also a fair number of shorebirds (waders), including avocets, black-tailed godwits, greenshanks and redshanks.

*Canon EOS D7 (1.6x crop factor), 70-200 mm lens (f/2.8), 1.4x extender.

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