Friday, July 25, 2014

Laughing Gull roost in Elmwood is re-forming

This evening, perhaps 30 min before sunset, I noticed Laughing Gulls streaming to the rooftop of Intralox, the building behind Wal Mart.

Right on schedule, the annual post-breeding roost is beginning to form.

I counted 150 landing over about five minutes, before I left.  If past patterns hold true, the roost will shift from rooftop to rooftop erratically until late October, growing into the multiple thousands (or tens of thousands), after which they will shift their nocturnal roosting to Lake Pontchartrain.

Most of the birds I saw tonight were white-headed, whereas breeding adults have black hoods.  I am not sure that none of the nesting population could have molted out of their hoods yet, but I expect these are individuals that summered in LA without nesting, and did not acquire full nuptial (=black headed) plumage.  Most did not appear to be juveniles hatched this year- they were heavily in wing and tail molt and were pale chested, whereas juveniles right now have fresh new feathers and a dark wash on their chests.  A few had smattering of dark on the tail tip, an indication that they were first year birds- which in many species are less likely to find a mate.  Just like a freshman boy in high school might have a hard time getting a date.


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