Kathi and I are enjoying some fun on the beach here in Pompano Beach, Florida. We took a walk down the beach with a point and shoot a few days ago and too some pics of gulls and terns and skimmers on the beach. The black line centre left are all skimmers, the terns at bottom left are mostly ROYAL TERNS with the odd LAUGHING GULL and RING-BILLED GULL. But what about that group of gulls on in the centre right of the photo????

Below is a closer shot of that group of gulls. If you look carefully you will notice there are fourteen birds in this group. There are three species represented here. So what are they?

I know. I know. They are pretty small in this image, so below is a close up showing two of the species. The third species is RING-BILLED GULL. One is pretty much hidden except a wing tip and the other near the centre is noticeably smaller. So what are the two species below?

The bird in the bottom left with really bleached and pale wing coverts is a first summer HERRING GULL. It is the ONLY herring gull in any of these images. All the other gulls (and there are ELEVEN of them!!!) are LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS of varying ages. Just a few decades ago this species would have been earth shattering news anywhere in North America, but today they are widely reported in numbers. The thing I found most surprising is that this group of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were the DOMINANT species in this gull flock. I had upwards of fourteen LBBGs at any one time on the beach and there was never more than three or four other gulls with the flock! The LESSERS age classes seemed to be 4 adult or near adult, 3 second summer, and 7 first summer birds. In the image below you can see a range of variation of birds in the group - all of these are LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS!

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