Tag Archives: Laughing Gull

GOOD EATING AT GOOD HARBOR! IF YOU ARE A BIRD, THAT IS :)

Over the past several months of documenting our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers, beginning in March, we have seen a beautiful collection of shorebirds, gulls, hawks, and wading birds. The continuous ebb and flow of replenishing waters at the tidal creek, expansive marsh, and intertidal pools make for a range of rich habitat where birds can find food and shelter. Minnows, sea worms, crabs, tiny mollusks, and a wide variety of other invertebrates provide fuel for hungry travelers as well as summer residents.

Too many photos for one post I just realized and will post heron and egret photos next.

Here are just some of the beauties!

Beautiful, beautiful trio of Dowitchers

Herring Gull eating a Green Crab

Cooper’s Hawk

Spotted Sandpiper

Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plovers

Killdeer

Laughing Gulls
Yellow Legs

And of course, Marshmallow and Dad 🙂

 

MAY IS THE MAGICAL MONTH FOR MIGRATION THROUGH MASSACHUSETTS – Featuring Laughing Gulls at Good Harbor Beach

Over the past several weeks we have been graced with a bevy of beauties arriving on our shores, some here to stay to nest for the summer, and for some, we are a stopover to their breeding grounds further north, a place to rest and refuel.

Last night a pair of Laughing Gulls was spotted foraging at the shoreline at Good Harbor Beach, earlier in the week a pair of Yellow Legs was at GHB in the early morning, and last week, a flock of Brant Geese, a trio of Black-bellied Plovers, and a Willet were observed. Our gardens, woodlands, meadows, and dunes have come alive with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, American Robins, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Towhees, Bobolinks, Carolina Wrens, Brown Thrashers, Eastern Bluebirds, and dozens more species of songbirds.

The striking black-hooded Laughing Gull breeds in Massachusetts, but was nearly extirpated because of the plume and egg hunters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They began to make a comeback, only to be devastated again by larger gulls expanding their southward range. Laughing Gulls are adaptable and today their numbers are increasing.

I’ve seen single Laughing Gulls at Good Harbor, but this is the first pair. Perhaps they are breeding at Salt Island or Thacher Island. Wouldn’t that be wonderful 🙂

Laughing Gull breeding and wintering range

Beautiful few moments when the sun was trying to break through the bank of clouds.

Super high tides at Good Harbor Beach this week; notice how close to the dune’s edge is the line of seaweed left by the last tide.

Mama on the nest

GOOD HARBOR BEACH MAGICAL MORNING SUNRISE, FOGBOW, LAUGHING GULL, AND HOW VOLUNTEER PAUL SAVED LITTLE CHICK’S LIFE

Captivatingly beautiful was this morning’s ever-changing light as the rising sun was greeted by waves of fog.  

A fogbow mysteriously appeared and lasted for a good while.

Our Little Chick was nearly impossible to spot on his twenty-seventh day during the early shift and I was super happy to see the sun reappearing when Paul arrived at 8am.

Yesterday morning Little Chick had an extremely close encounter with the beach rake. He’s learned how to crouch and flatten low into the sand when people or predators are approaching. The thing is, yesterday he hunkered down in the path of the oncoming beach rake. Paul had to stop the driver to allow our chick to escape. I think this is an excellent example of why, for the time being, we still need monitors for a bit longer. Thank you Paul for being so attentive.

Camouflaged!

A Laughing Gull arrived briefly on the scene and stayed just long enough to catch a crustacean. Laughing Gulls eat baby birds too, so we’ll be keeping a watchful eye on this fellow.

 

Tee-hee Tee-Hee – Laughing Gull at Good Harbor Beach!

Laughing Gull Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts copyright Kim SmithLook for this unmistakeable gull at Good Harbor Beach. It has been here for several days. You can’t miss his distinguished black head and deepest slate gray wings. If lucky, he may even laugh his funny laugh for you. This is a first for me, seeing a Laughing Gull at Good Harbor Beach. When I was a child we would see them often at my Grandparent’s beach on Cape Cod. If you have seen Laughing Gulls on Cape Ann please write and let us know.

Mass Audubon’s historic status on the Laughing Gull reports that this smallest of our breeding gulls has had a difficult time reproducing in Massachusetts. In the mid 1800s, Laughing Gulls reigned over Muskeget Island, off the Nantucket coast, but within a 25-year period, commercial eggers reduced their population to but only a few nesting pairs. “By 1923, however, protective actions taken by the keeper of the island’s lifesaving station helped the Laughing Gull population rebound to the thousands. Further bolstered by the protection afforded by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, Laughing Gulls expanded their colony at Muskeget Island to 20,000 pairs by the 1940s. Unfortunately, a preponderance of Herring Gulls also benefited from the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as from the increase in food available to them at open landfills at that time.” The rise of the Herring Gull has ultimately led to the severe decline of breeding Laughing Gulls in Massachusetts and today there are thought to be only about 500 pairs. Imagine, from 20,000 pairs to only 500!

One interesting fact is that not only do they nest in Dune Grass, but also have a penchant for dense patches of Poison Ivy. The Good Harbor Beach Laughing Gull has been foraging on crustaceans and invertebrates at the tide pools.