As spring starts to take shape, most of the birds undergo a dramatic transformation from their drab winter selves to the colorful forms of summer. The Laughing Gulls are a very common winter bird when they are mostly a dull white and plain gray. In the breeding season, they get a sharp black head and crisp whites. To top it off, they develop bright red bills, throats, and feet. It’s still a bit early, so most are still in winter plumage. This individual was an early spring dresser. It doesn’t quite have the legs and the bill isn’t as red as it will be, but it’s almost there. It found a small Horseshoe Crab to devour.
The gulls only look so-so in flat light. Fortunately the sun peeked through for a few minutes to really show them off.
The light went away again for a while and I moved on down the mud flats. A Tricolored Heron was actively fishing there. From time to time, it would fly off to another spot a few feet away that presumably held more fish. You’d be amazed how many fish they can eat in one day.
Like the gulls, the Tricolored Herons turn it up a notch to impress their lovers. They get brighter colors and long plumes. My personal favorite is the deep blue colors that they gain on their bill to set off their bright red eyes. Just a stunning bird!