California Gull On The WingA California Gull On The Wing – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The California Gulls I see on the wing over Antelope Island State Park are nearly in breeding plumage just shortly after the official arrival of spring. I have seen hundreds of California Gulls on Egg Island just north of Ladyfinger Point where many of them nest, hundreds of them on the shore near the causeway, floating on the saline waters of the Great Salt Lake and lately there have been large numbers of them feeding on the ground near the group campground at White Rock Bay which is where I photographed the California Gull above with Buffalo Point in the background yesterday morning.  Very soon the “Brine Fly Buffet” will begin on the Great Salt Lake and the numbers of California Gulls will increase.

California Gulls are medium sized gulls that breed here in Utah along with other western states and some people consider them “trash birds” because they will form huge flocks near landfills to feed on the trash there. The fact of the matter is that California Gulls were here long before we started filling the earth with our trash so I don’t consider California Gulls “trash birds” nor do I think of other gulls in that context. “We” messed up the environment, destroyed habitat and created the landfills that our refuse is dumped in and the gulls have just adapted to the changes we have made. Some species of birds are adapt well to human caused disturbances but some are on the brink of extinction because they can’t adapt well. California Gulls are simply more resilient to the changes we have created and I can’t fault them for that.