California Gull portrait in falling rain

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California Gull portrait in falling rainCalifornia Gull portrait in falling rain – Nikon D810, f9, 1/250, ISO 1250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I photographed this California Gull back in May on Antelope Island State Park in falling rain and like the streaks of rain in the frame. This was taken not long after I got to the island near the visitor center when I still had low light to deal with because of thick clouds overhead. Later on the light became much better and I spent most of the morning photographing Western Kingbirds attempting to build a nest.

I like gulls even if other people think they are “trash birds” and won’t stop to take images of them. I think they are graceful in flight, have beautiful plumage and although at times their calls can be annoying I find their behavior fascinating especially when they are trying to catch brine flies here along the shore of the Great Salt Lake. Besides, common birds can be uncommonly beautiful if given the chance.

It is said that California Gulls saved the early Mormon pioneers when a plague of crickets were destroying all their crops and the ravenous gulls devoured the crickets and saved the crops. Without the sustenance those crops provided the pioneers may have perished. I wonder what Utah would be like today without those gulls being the heroes. There is even a monument dedicated to the California Gulls in Salt Lake City. I don’t know if this story is true or just another story that was pure fabrication.

Doesn’t matter to me, I still like the gulls.

Life is good.



  1. Deedee OBrien October 30, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Love this photo!

  2. Elephant's Child October 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Trash birds? The trash talkers fit the name much, much better.
    They are intelligent, resourceful and resilient. And, I think, beautiful.

  3. Deborah October 30, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I like gulls too. (and rain streaks in photos!) 😉

  4. Patty Chadwick October 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

    PPS. Re: DC Trash Birds–I can’t stand the sounds they make!!!!!!! And they’re dirty!!!! Full of solid wastes…..

  5. Patty Chadwick October 30, 2015 at 7:15 am

    PS. You can find a lot of Trash Birds in Washington, DC…these days….some of them are running for President…I wish they would stop running and fly… just migrate and fly to some other country….ANY other country….NOW!!!

  6. Patty Chadwick October 30, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I love your portraits…this is another great one. I especially love to see a flock of these beautiful, intelligent “trash” birds wheeling backlit against the sun– the sun coming through and highlighting the white of their wings…also like watching them at the beach as they cleverly size up and raid careless people’s stuff…they are soooo smart!!! Glad to hear someone finally listened to one and got the straight scoop. Amazing how history almost always gets distorted….how lucky we all are that someone like Michael Pope understands them!

    • Mia McPherson October 30, 2015 at 7:18 am

      Thank you Patty. They are smart and opportunistic.

  7. Michael A Pope October 30, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Mia I look forward to your photos every day and enjoy them so much that I had to tell you that you were misinformed as many others were regarding the California Gulls and the Mormons. You see The early Mormon Settlers were saved by the Franklin Gulls. I had a long conversation with a Franklin Gull about this. You see the Franklin Gulls fly up from their winter home in south west South America at the right time of the year to eat the emerging Hoppers (Grass Hoppers have a Politic-speak name now they are not Locusts, that scares people , or grasshoppers that the Kids play with No Now in Canada They Have “Hopper Irradiation and control” Spray tons of insecticide every every year because they are choking off the Franklin Gull Nesting areas. Back in those times there were millions and millions of Franklin Gulls and they arrived in great black headed rosy pink chested white clouds. These were Hungary gulls having just flown five or six thousand miles. I am sure they enjoyed the Mormons treat . Being such world travellers the Franklin Gulls appreciated that a new Religious Order would find it Embarrassing to have to give thanks to a inhabitants of a Foreign Land where many spoke French or native languages so they passed the honours on to the California gulls who had an unfortunate “Solid Waste and Slapstick Movie background. I am in the Philippines now and miss the Gulls Please keep up the gorgeous work. Michael

    • Mia McPherson October 30, 2015 at 6:27 am

      Michael, thanks for the laugh, I needed it!

  8. Bob Mcpherson October 30, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Beautiful image, Mia. The rain streaks are intriguing.

  9. Nancy Collins October 30, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Gorgeous Mia!

  10. Cindy October 30, 2015 at 6:02 am

    I love seagulls! They may think we’re annoying too. 🙂 Such a beautiful image as if he posed for you (and we know he did) Thanks Mia! 🙂

  11. Bob Bushell October 30, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Beautiful image of the Gull, so pretty, and in the pouring rain.

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