Laughing Stock

Holy crap, I get disconnected from the Internet for just a couple of days only to get back online and find out we had another embassy overrun. Regardless of the opinions on whether we should have been there or minimally that long etc., those that have served there and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice deserve better than the images I am seeing on lame stream media at the moment. I can only imagine what other superpowers are thinking at this moment. Looking through the available images, figured I would go with this for today’s featured feathered friend.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

The Laughing Gull is not new to the blog. Back in march of 2019, I covered the specimens we found while visiting Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia {shirk eyesight, stare sheepishly at the ground, hum a bit} from our 2015 trip (link here). Yeah, that was a 4 year lag for that. As an act of retribution, today’s images are equally 4 away, but this time the units are months. They still have that new car smell.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

Hit jump to read about the Dauphin Island Walmart greeter.

Gulls are an interesting topic for me. I never know what experience I am going to get when I photograph these birds. Not from the birds of course, if you know the Gull family, then you are already aware they couldn’t care less about a human – especially, one holding a camera and not a piece of food – now that would change the dynamics greatly. On the other hand, it is the locals that provide the interesting behavior observations.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

I’ve been basically accosted on Mackinaw Island for having the audacity to give one of these “deplorables” a microsecond of time apparently under the impression that pointing The Beast at one causes them to reproduce on the spot. Should have told that person it was a bazooka and we would have left on better terms.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

Then we have the other extreme with people walking around with bags of bread holding court with their black and white minions. Basically like shooting through a snowstorm with hundreds of circling Gulls all screaming “Mine!”. Based on my years of observations, those people tend to be a) tourists who do not have to deal with the repercussions or b) they have an army of Cats anxiously waiting for them to return home.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

The Laughing Gull happened to be the very first bird I spotted when we arrived on Dauphin Island. It happened to be raining that day (of course, we were on vacation, what else could the weather possibly be). ‘Re’ won an epic battle with ‘Nu’ overnight finally bringing and end to the rain. Popped out of the RV shielding my eyes from the unexpected brilliant light and spotted this specimen hanging out on a telephone pole about 50 feet beyond our site. Just one lone Gull keeping a watchful eye out for someone walking with loaves of bread.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

Grabbed The Beast and got it on target. I then pulled my head away from the back of the camera (Beast still aimed) and made a scan of the area. No surprise movements, no mobs of people with pitchforks – Mackinaw this wasn’t. Got back to work and pushed a few shots into the tin. Admittedly, took me a few test shots to get the settings right thanks to all the dreary setting shooting up to that point. Pretty sure the ISO dial creaked when I moved it to 200. Kudos to the pole bird for hanging loose while I got it together. Note the inflight shots are not the same specimen. As usual, wanted to give you additional perspectives, but for some reason got distracted (likely read that as Linda) and looked back to see an empty perch. There was no shortage of opportunities to tin these Laughers and opted to throw a few shots taken a couple of days later while exploring the surprisingly few beaches accessible on the island.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

Ooops, out of shots, better get to some facts on this bird before letting you go. In general Gulls are ubiquitous across the states. Come upon a body of water or a Walmart parking lot you are sure to see predominantly white birds laying claim to anything that looks like nourishment. Specific species can be more specialized as with the Laugher. They are pretty much isolated to the eastern and southern coastlines of the US and Central America. One exception being Florida which appears to be completely covered as a state. Beyond that, Cornell is pretty weak on the interesting facts. If you are in the field, just look for the black hood, red bill and the white eye crescents to quickly distinguish them from the rest of the family. For the breeding adults of course…best of luck if you tin a nonbreeding or juvi in which case simply download it off the card and quickly move it to your folder named “Gulls” and forget about it ha!

Take care everyone and our prayers for our citizens and military personnel having to deal in place with the latest unforced error.

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