Portrait of a California Gull

Portrait of a California GullPortrait of a California Gull – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/5000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 257mm, natural light, not baited

Over the past week I have seen California Gulls in breeding plumage flying to Egg Island in the Great Salt Lake with nesting material in their bills while on the north end of Antelope Island State Park. Egg Island has California Gulls, Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants all building their nests right now on the rocky little spit of land that juts up from the Great Salt Lake near Lady Finger Point.

I must not have been paying attention to my settings on the morning when I photographed this California Gull because I certainly didn’t need and ISO of 640 with the available light and with a static subject I didn’t need a shutter speed of 1/5000 either. Live and learn.

During breeding season the heads and necks of California Gulls are a snowy white which contrasts very nicely from their dark eyes, red orbital rings and gapes and the yellow of their bills along with the black and red spots on it.


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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. Very healthy looking gull. Speaking of spring, yesterday in Logan I saw a crow on a tall pole bobbing its head. As I drove forward I could see another crow on the ground, the female I guess. Both of these species have adapted so well to city life. And for fun this Russian crow was caught sliding down the roof: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2k1aoLAMRMc

  2. WHAT a great portrait. I’ve seen them many times, but did NOT remember that beautiful orange on their mouth & around their eye. Jeepers. Pretty gorgeous.

  3. She is so beautiful! Awesome photo :)

  4. A beautiful California Gull, it must the way you shoot them.

  5. It’s still a brilliant photo!

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