Seagulls and Terns of Kelly Park, Merritt Island, FL

Just sharing a few seagull images taken at Kelly Park, Merritt Island, Florida the day after Thanksgiving. While others might have been occupied with Black Friday shopping opportunities, I enjoyed a little time seeing what kind of bird activity was happening at Kelly Park up the street from my parents’ house. The general host of herons were not present and all was relatively quiet, so I targeted some birds oft’ neglected in my usual habits. There was an amazing assortment of  seagulls and terns hanging out on the pilings. I have a lot to learn about gulls and just as with species I am more familiar with, the Ring-Billed Gull in its adult winter, breeding plumage features much different coloring than the juvenile of the species.  Generally, the gulls are somewhat coy, taking off  when I approach only to alight just out of range. But, this day I had plenty of time to spend and the weather was gray but lovely and cool…perfect for walking around with a camera and letting the gulls get used to you.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), adult winter plumage

Ring-Billed Gull, Adult Winter Plumage

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), adult winter plumage

Young Ring-Billed Gull, on piling at Kelly Park, MI, FL

Young Ring-billed Gull, featuring a pink bill with pink legs vs the adult above with a yellow ringed bill and yellow legs.

Young Ring-Billed gull on piling at Kelly Part, MI, FL

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), winter plumage

Royal Tern in its winter plumage. These dapper fellows are found in coastal areas.

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), winter plumage with Gull

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Seagull at Kelly Park with wings raised

I loved the light on the wings up posture of this gull!

May your days be filled with the cries of seagulls and the rush of the ocean waves.



~ by Judy on December 8, 2013.

15 Responses to “Seagulls and Terns of Kelly Park, Merritt Island, FL”

  1. I’ve never seen a ring-billed gull. It’s really rather a handsome species. We have laughing gulls, and herring gulls. There may be another species or two I don’t know. I’m not so fond of the herring gulls. They’re big and bossy, and will pluck mallard ducklings right out of the water for a snack. Oh, my…

    We have some terns, too. I’ll have to look them up. The Royal seems larger than the ones around here, but they might be the same.

    My opinion? You did much better for yourself and for us hanging out with this crowd on Black Friday!

    • Definitely better than the mall!! Until that day I never really looked closely at the Ring-billed gull…those matching yellow eyes and legs. Took me a little looking to see the pink billed, pink legged ones were young of the same. Thought they were young though as so often juveniles have a more spotted appearance than the adults.

      Poor little mallard ducklings!! ‘Tiz the natural order I do suppose.

  2. Liked the photos of the young ring-billed, the first royal tern, and the last picture the best!

  3. These pictures turned out spectacularly! Wonderful stuff! Thanks for posting them, they were beautiful!

  4. Terrific gull shots!

    • Thanks Phil…:) We seemed to have posted pictures of gull and terns close together. Those flying shots you have are just wonderful!!

  5. As you know, I live in the middle of gull breeding colony (common, lesser black backed and herring gulls) but these are different. Also, though Little Terns bred on our beach, and I’ve spent several summers watching, and Arctic and Common Terns breed on Breydon Water (at the ‘back’ of the town) I’d not even heard of a Royal Tern. With that crest it puts me in mind of the Sandwich Tern. The photos are brilliant – as usual. You have such a talent.

  6. Sounds like you are way more familiar with the gull names that I really have been. It is always a learning opportunity when you concentrate on a new bird portrait.

  7. Wonderful photos, Judy! Gulls are so under-appreciated, it’s good to see someone giving them a little prime time every so often. Ring-billed Gulls are a regular winter resident here in Colorado as well, but all birds here are so afraid of humans, I don’t get much opportunity to photograph them. I really like the third picture…with those posts disappearing into the depths of the scene, very nice.

    Love the little tern, too! Kind of like the punkrockers and bikers of the coastal waterfowl…they look badass, have kickass moves, and fly like bats out of hell! 😛

    • I think that the little terns do have quite the punk hairdo too!! Punk is a word I have applied to other birds too, like Great Blue Heron chicks…..they look like little rock stars with a punk hair style.

      Gulls in Colorado?? That seems amazing but I keep getting amazed when birds I associate with my sub-tropical clime by the sea turn up other places!!

      • Birds are pretty secretive around here. We’ve had some terns show up on rare occasions, and the GBH…they are extremely sensitive to human activity. I’d love to see a chick, but sadly, Colorado is destroying the only breeding ground habitat that Great Blue Herons have here…Chatfield State Park. (They have trudged forward with a huge expansion for water collection capacity, despite the fact that studies show the likelihood of actually collecting any extra water during a 10 year period is practically nil.) So, unless I fly to some other local, I don’t think I’ll get to see that cute GBH chick’s punk rockin style in person.

        As for gulls, yes, we have lots! California, Ring-billed, Heron, and a number of other species are regular residents. We also get a fair number of other species as they pass through during migration. I got a late start on migration last year, as my 100-400mm lens was damaged (ironically, it still is :\), but I have the 600mm lens this year, so maybe I’ll be able to capture some shots of the migrating gull species.

  8. We have a lot of those “Ring-billed” gulls around here too. Most of them hang around the pier down by the Rappahannock river in Virginia. But sometimes, I see them in store parking lots, begging for food. They seem to be relatively fearless. Or maybe they were too cold to fly away from me? posted a few photos of these gulls standing by the river–in Snow Cold Feet.

    • I did visit your post Snow Cold Feet with the Ring-billed Gulls set against that marvelous bridge and wintry snow flying and piling up on branches and pilings alike!! My goodness these guys are everywhere!!

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