Saturday, May 9, 2015

Laughing Gull

After leaving Dallas, Erika and I spent two days in Rockport, Texas—a favorite destination because of easy access to birds. Thousands of Laughing Gulls breed in the Rockport City Park. Whooping Cranes can be seen at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and usually at locations even nearer to Rockport. And, as this was as far south as we intended to travel this year in Texas, who knows? Perhaps we would encounter our first living dragonflies of the year. (You may recall the dead one in the grackle’s mouth reported in a recent posting).
I have posted photos of these gulls from a previous trip. Conditions were much wetter this year—heavy rain fell during our first night, and we saw many bathing birds. Laughing Gulls bathe often, in both fresh and salt water. For up to 20 minutes, the gull dips its head under water, and then raises the head quickly to pour water over its back. The gull flops its wings, like the one in my photo, while dunking its head in and out of the water. Afterwards it preens, often up to another 20 minutes (Burger 1996)

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