Springtime California Gull Portrait

Springtime California Gull PortraitSpringtime California Gull Portrait – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 258mm, natural light, not baited

Yesterday while I was out photographing Long-billed Curlews this California Gull (Larus californicus) flew in so close that all I could do was take portraits of the bird. After a long holiday weekend and the abundance of campers on Antelope Island State Park, I’m fairly certain the bird was looking for a hand out. I could see other gulls scouring the campsites for any scraps of food left behind.

I like the out of focus, tiny pink wildflowers that are currently blanketing the grasslands of the island showing in the background, the snowy white plumage of the gull, the bits of oolitic sand on the bird’s bill and the brilliant colors of the gape, orbital ring and bill. I also rather enjoy being able to see the reflection of the fluffy clouds in the sky in the upper quadrant of the gull’s dark eye.

You’d think that Utah would have selected a different species for the State Bird given that the name of this species is the California Gull. I’ve written about why the California Gull was picked for the Utah State Bird here, it is an interesting story.


Oh, the Biting Gnats (no-see-ums) are back and bit me up yesterday. Grumble, grumble.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. The colors are gorgeous! Glad this fellow was so cooperative, great photo!

  2. Beautiful portrait, Mia. Almost looks like a painting. Great bold colors. :-)

  3. Wow, Mia what a wonderful photo:)

  4. Very beautiful Mia, the colors are so pretty! I hope the no-see-ums leave you alone on your next birding trip.

    • Thank you PrairieBirder, the colors are wonderful in this frame. The No-see-ums will be around for weeks (it seems more like months when they are biting) but I’m going to get some fresh insect repellent today to help.

  5. Sorry those gnats are back. It’s a lovely portrait though, such vivid colors.

    • Laurence, I’m sorry too that the biting gnats are back but I won’t let them stop me from photographing on the island. Thanks for your comment on this image.

  6. Beautiful details and love the pink in the background!
    Yup. Those biting gnats got me last Friday. Always on my ears!

    • Judy, I didn’t have my hat on right away yesterday so the little blood suckers got my scalp, it itches so much today. Going to get fresh insect repellent in just a bit (pardon the pun).

  7. Nice portrait shot. And please don’t send the “no-see-ums” our way, please. Don’t care for them! LOL

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